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Growing Scotland’s international competitiveness and delivering sustainable economic growth: what works evidence review


The aim of this report is to highlight the available evidence on what works to promote and encourage the international competitiveness and sustainable economic growth of businesses in Scotland.


The report is based on the evidence Scottish Enterprise has built up to support its work with Scottish companies and sectors. It draws on a number of sources including: economic data analysis and bench marking; research studies; independent evaluations and impact appraisals. The paper summarises the available evidence for the main areas of spend and activity outlined in the 2013 Scottish Enterprise business plan. It evaluates existing evidence on factors such as account management, business support and funding support.


Findings show that companies that are internationally competitive achieve better performance and growth, and economies that have an internationally competitive offering are those that attract investment. International competitiveness and growth is driven by productivity, which is in turn driven by innovation, investment, and skills. Other factors can include access to finance and the right infrastructure, as well as companies having the right leadership, management skills, and ambition, to grow. The report highlights the types of support that are particularly effective in generating outcomes and impacts for Scottish businesses, under the following headings: increasing business efficiency; business approaches to working with other companies; increasing investment in research and development (R&D) and innovation; internationalisation; attracting inward investment; growth finance - including funding support and business growth advice; business investment and environment; leadership, management and ambition; supporting growth sectors; and partnership building.


The report does not provide any overarching recommendations but summarises ‘what works’ for each area covered in the report.

Author Scottish Enterprise
Published Year 2015
Report Type Research
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses
  • Internationalisation
    Internationalisation of Scottish businesses
  • Innovation
    Business innovation