SDI policy evaluation 2010
An independent evaluation aimed to assess the impact of Scottish Development International (SDI) activities, focusing on the international activities of Scottish-based businesses, and investment in Scotland by foreign-owned companies.
The study involved:
- Interviews with 305 companies that had benefited from inward investment or international trade support
- Econometric analysis of inward investment and international trade activities carried out by Professor Richard Harris of the University of Glasgow
- Case studies of supported businesses
- Consultations with Scottish Development International and their partner organizations
The evaluation finds that SDI’s support for international trade activity is having a significant and positive effect on business productivity and positive employment effects from activity to attract inward investment.
As a result of SDI’s help, businesses themselves reported significant impacts on their international sales and employment, as well as contributing to their capability to trade internationally.
- SDI has created around 19,000 jobs to date, demonstrating its importance in supporting employment
- SDI assistance has led to an additional £58 million average exports per year
- An estimated £72 million GVA is likely to be added to the Scottish economy through international trade alone over the next three years, due to SDI activity in this area
- Almost 50 percent of all businesses interviewed reported that support from SDI helped them meet customers/partners that they would otherwise not have met
- 89 percent of businesses that SDI has helped develop international trade considered their engagement with SDI to have been worthwhile
- 41 percent have achieved sales in new overseas markets and 80 percent expect to achieve overseas sales as a result of the supported international trade activities
- Higher wages, higher employment and higher labour productivity exist in SDI-assisted inward investor companies
- 73 percent of inward investors working with SDI consider us to have been very or fairly important in ensuring the continuing presence of the business in Scotland
- SDI-assisted companies have been 19 percent more productive than ‘matched’ cases with no assistance
- Most SDI-assisted inward investment companies are employing more people than planned, doing more R&D and have broadened their product range
The evaluation raised a number of recommendations looking forward specifically around the use of learning, strategy development, integration with business support, leveraging the SDI resource and future performance measurement.
These points will help refine and strengthen SDI’s future development strategy.
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