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Evaluation of the Scottish Government’s Export Promotion Support


Scotland's Export Growth Plan, A Trading Nation, included a commitment to develop a robust monitoring and evaluation approach. The Scottish Government established a working group of Team Scotland delivery partners: Scottish Development International (SE/SDI) (SDI being Scottish Enterprise's international delivery arm), Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), South of Scotland Enterprise (SoSE) and Scottish Chamber of Commerce (SCC) to deliver an evaluation of public sector export promotion support, aiming to assess impact, what support worked well and, less well and to shape current support as well as future monitoring and evaluation. The Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) and Centre for Business Prosperity (CBP) at Aston University were commissioned by Scottish Government for this study which formed part of a mixed methods approach. A management information review and interviews with customer facing staff was covered in a separate report by Frontline Consultants.


Survey and interviews with supported firms between 2018/19 and 2020/21 and non supported firms (since 2015) as a control group. Data from both surveys were analysed econometrically.


60% of responding firms were exporters; 58% reported support positively affected their export sales; exporters increased their export sales by approx. £1.6bn as a result of the support forecasting a further £2.7bn of export sales over the next 3 years. On average, firms attributed 41% of their export sales to support; econometric analysis estimated support led to an increase in firms’ value of exports of 140%. Wider impacts included increasing /safeguarding jobs, increasing R&D investment and productivity improvements.


Key areas for review include: the A-C-E model of support including support for exploitation of exporting opportunities; promotion and awareness of export support; linkages between export support and R&D/innovation and methods to improve the effectiveness of future evaluations.

Author Enterprise Research Centre and Centre for Business Prosperity at Aston University
Published Year 2023
Report Type Evaluation
  • Internationalisation