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Interim evaluation of ongoing programmes (Growing Businesses)


This interim evaluation provided an overview of 8 business development programmes consolidated into a ‘Growing Business’ group within the Forth Valley Business Gateway. The programmes either aimed to offer continuing generic support to companies or to address and promote specific perceived business development opportunities. The evaluation aimed to: review the performance and impact of on-going programmes against their original strategic and operational objectives and targets, with an analysis of how these programmes were delivered through the Forth Valley Business Gateway; identify any modifications in the design and/or delivery of these programmes that might improve their performance and delivery; identify their continued relevance to economic development issues; and identify any gaps that might help address the challenges affecting the performance of the Forth Valley economy.


The methodology adopted a wholly qualitative approach (revising an earlier intention to provide quantitative date which was not readily available). Each programme manager selected around 10 companies to be interviewed which had benefited most from participation in their programme. Stresses that the results of the questionnaire provided a ‘golden sample’ representing the best case position for these programmes, and not an average position.


Concludes that the programmes are addressing local business needs, with a few exceptions. Customers recognise the improvements made to business performance, efficiency and long-term viability by Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley (SEFV) support. Economic impacts from direct business performance are only moderate, but there are enough to suggest a significant scale of economics benefit is derived from the programmes. The additionality of SEFV is stronger that expected. The range of business support programmes do strengthen the Forth Valley economic base. Notes that the SEFV administrative and technical support system cannot deliver consistent customer management. Consultancy variability is undermining the delivery of programmes. Highlights the danger of regular repeat users of the service and that access needs to be widened.


Suggests that the levels of additionality and performance impacts, plus customer demonstrated relevance do provide justification for continuance of programmes. Notes that there is a need for a staff appointment to SEFV to provide technical data management backup for the business development team. Recommends a simplification of the funding approval documentation for individual projects. Suggests that sufficient local operational flexibility needs to be maintained to allow access to national programmes for local companies.

Author Leclerc Associates
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses