Economic Evaluation of Converge

This document presents an analysis of the economic impact of Converge and its return on investment for funders and stakeholders. It follows a similar study conducted by BiGGAR Economics in 2017. 

Participants in Converge from 2011 to 2019 were invited to take part in a web survey to provide data about their companies and views about the programme, to which 56 people responded. We also spoke to 27 participants in one-to-one consultations. They told us about their businesses, plans for the future, and their experience and satisfaction with the programme. 

Participants explained that Converge creates routes to impact through nurturing their business proposition, building their skills, introducing them to networks, giving them confidence, and creating exposure for them and their businesses. 

There is no doubt that Converge is embedded in the innovation landscape, a key piece in this jigsaw with a distinct offering for academic entrepreneurs. 

Businesses that have taken part in Converge generated £21.5 million Gross Value Added (GVA) and supported 524 jobs in 2019 in Scotland. Accounting for the role of other areas of support and the extent to which this impact would have happened in the absence of Converge, as well as their wider effects on the economy, it was estimated that the net additional economic impact of businesses supported by Converge amounted to £11.0 million GVA and 298 jobs in 2019. This is the impact that can be directly attributed to Converge. 

Each £1 invested in Converge from 2011 to 2019 generated £3.66 GVA for the Scottish economy in 2019. 

Converge participants considered in the study have secured £103.7 million of external funding, of which £41.0 million could be attributed to Converge. For every £1 of funding for Converge, participants have raised a further £13.62 in external funding. 

The new investment in Impact Challenge and Creative Challenge is focussed more widely than purely economic impacts. In future, Converge could broaden out its impact analysis to consider wider impacts against Scotland’s National Performance Framework. This would mean broadening its evaluation framework to include wider measures of impact that fit with Scottish Government and individual funders’ strategic objectives. This may help identify best ways to support businesses coming out of Impact and Creative, and indeed, the Converge Challenge, which may not have economic impact as a goal. 

Read the full report below.