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Evaluation of Scotland Welcomes the World 2014: business engagement events


The purpose of the research was to evaluate the following business engagement activities delivered within the scope of Scottish Enterprise’s (SE’s) Scotland Welcomes the World 2014 Programme (SWTW): Geared for Gold; Showcasing Scotland Food and Drink; 2014 Commonwealth Business Conference; Scotland House Business Events; and the Ryder Cup (business engagement activities). The events aimed to maximise the opportunity that the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup provided for Scottish business to engage with overseas businesses and to capitalise upon the opportunities to win contracts. The key objectives of the evaluation were to: assess the tangible and intangible benefits that participants felt had been realised as a result of their participation; assess the value for money of undertaking the events; identify what more could have been done to realise benefits in the participating companies; assess the anticipated and actual (to date) economic impacts arising from the events; and highlight areas of key learning that could influence similar activities in the future.


The methodology consisted of three components: review and analysis of various documents associated with the activities, including strategic and operational frameworks; consultation with SE executives and external stakeholders with operational and/or strategic interest in the events; and a telephone survey of businesses that had engaged with at least one of the events.


The findings from the consultation exercise suggested that each event performed well in terms of: the number of businesses that attended; the impact of the event in raising Scotland’s profile on the world stage; the quality of event management; and highly positive feedback from event attendees. It was also found that SE obtained maximum benefits from its investment in the events programme, in that resources were used carefully to achieve the aims and objectives of the programme of events. The findings from the survey of participating companies indicated that the opportunity to network was a key driver for them to attend a SWTW event, and that they had realised a range of benefits from attending an event, such as new contracts won or anticipated; exports won; and partnerships and strategic collaborations entered into. The survey findings also indicated a modest number of impacts to date in terms of turnover and GVA. However, given the contacts made by companies, future impacts could be much greater.


The consultation exercise highlighted a range of lessons that should be taken into consideration when similar events are being hosted in the future, in terms of: establishment of clear governance arrangements; establishment of a project management office; appointment of an event management company; development of a dedicated, full-time team for the event(s); achieving senior level buy-in and backing; and attracting international audiences.

Author Bellerby Economics
Published Year 2015
Report Type Evaluation
  • Internationalisation
    Exporting, Internationalisation of Scottish businesses