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Commercialisation programme longitudinal review: final report


Frontline was commissioned by Scottish Enterprise (SE) to conduct the 2011 Commercialisation Review, a longitudinal study aimed at understanding the development cycle of technology based businesses within the commercialisation arena. The review was undertaken as a follow-up to the initial commercialisation review in 2008. It aimed to: examine the progress made by companies since they were first interviewed in 2008; interview a new set of companies, many of which have benefited from up to 2 years of the re-focused commercialisation support; compare the findings between the 2008 and 2011 cohort of companies; quantify the current and projected impacts from investment in commercialisation; and better understand the development needs for companies and to consider their implications for current policy and support.


The work involved a survey of 82 companies, including 52 from the original 100 interviewed in 2008 and 32 new companies supported since 2008; undertaking an analysis of the company journey to commercialisation across the cohorts and an economic impact assessment across the longitudinal and new samples.


The review found that, despite challenging trading conditions during the period 2008-2011, the majority of companies surveyed have increased their turnover and employment and raised additional finance. They have also moved into new markets, increased networks, developed their management teams, have started to invest from their own profits and become less reliant on SE. The best performing companies were found to be a small elite group with a clear focus on their customer, a commercially focused management team and early sales. Nevertheless, the recession was cited as having slowed company growth and all companies are behind projected turnover levels. Companies reported challenges around sales and marketing skills gaps, the need to improve the commercial focus of the management team and technical challenges. SE Account Managers are viewed as essential in providing direction and support to help overcome these challenges. The impact from SE’s support on company performance has significantly increased since the initial Review in 2008. The return on investment to the public sector purse between 2004 and 2011 increased from £1.2 to £3.2 for every £1 spent. Predicted impacts, for the 10 year period 2004-13 for the original cohort forecasts a return of £6.1 for every £1 spent and £8.2 for the new company cohort for the 10 year period 2008-2017. The majority of impacts have been driven by a small number of start-up companies in the Enabling Technologies sector. However, there is a gradual increase in the contribution from spinout companies and Life Science businesses predicted from 2016 onwards.


No specific recommendations were made.

Author Frontline
Published Year 2012
Report Type Research
  • Sectors
    Digital markets and enabling technologies
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses
  • Innovation