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The benefits and impacts of support to Scottish Enterprise’s Account Managed Companies


This report is based on an online survey of Scottish Enterprise’s (SE) Account Managed companies. It aimed to explore views and opinions on the support that SE provided and the impact that this had upon such things as turnover (from which was derived estimates of Gross Value Added (GVA)), employment, exports and Research and Development spend. It also aimed to identify any additional support needs.


The methodology consisted of an online survey of 725 of SE’s Account Managed companies out of a population of 1,100: a 66% response rate. It included 36 questions which asked for responses in a variety of formats: numeric questions on such things as company turnover “with” and “without” SE support; open ended qualitative responses; and ranking of things according to their perceived importance, some of which were on a Likert scale.


The types of support that were felt to have the greatest impact upon company performance were: funding (accounting for a quarter of responses), access to advice and Training and Staff Development. Further analysis found that the high rating for funding support related to how it enabled companies to do things that they would otherwise not have been able to do. This included such things as making capital investments in equipment and buildings and being able to recruit additional staff. The less beneficial aspects of support related more to SE’s processes and procedures than to specific types of support. These covered such things as the amount of administration and paperwork, the resource pressures on small businesses when trying to access support and the slow speed at which SE made decisions. The extent to which there was additionality because of SE’s support was considerable, with almost all survey respondents saying that support had allowed them to do things that they would otherwise not have been able to do. This included being able to do things more quickly, on a larger scale and to a higher quality. The relationship between the company and its Account Manager was highlighted as being a key factor in driving additionality and impacts. Companies rated highly the benefits to their business of the total package of support received from SE. The gross impacts of SE support were considerable: an additional £500 million or £0.7 million in turnover per company; an additional 4,487 jobs, an average of 6 per company; an additional £143 million in exports, an average for the exporters of £0.3 million; an additional £65 million spend on Research and Development, an average of £0.1 million per company; and an additional £84 million in capital expenditure, an average per company of £0.1 million. Positive impacts were also reported on such metrics as profitability and labour productivity. Estimated net impacts over 5 years included GVA of £1,112 million.


The survey did identify some areas where improvements could be made: greater digitisation of administration processes; faster decision making; and reducing the administrative load on small companies when applying for support. It was suggested that there may also be times when Account Managers could be more pro-active in making companies aware of the support that is available.

Author Scottish Enterprise
Published Year 2021
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses