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Interim evaluation of Biotechnology Business Advisory Service


The Biotechnology Business Advisory Service (BBAS) is one of the key interventions available to the Scottish Enterprise network to support the emergence and growth of a SME base in the life sciences/biotechnology sector. It is also available to life sciences/biotechnology projects that have not yet become trading companies. It provides bespoke support delivered by specialist advisors with relevant sectoral expertise. This study sought to evaluate the success, or otherwise, of the BBAS project. It also considers whether the BBAS project should be extended and if so, what changes should be made.


Research involved consultation with stakeholders of BBAS. This included a mixture of face-to-face and telephone interviews with beneficiaries, university/research staff, BBAS advisors and private sector funders as well as local enterprise company (LEC) staff and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) Network staff.


Finds that eight out of fourteen company respondents were able to provide qualitative evidence of positive outcomes and benefits of BBAS support in relation to the support provided to companies and non-Proof of Concept (PoC) projects. For PoC projects, four out of five respondents provided evidence of positive outcomes and benefits associated with BBAS support. Overall the quality of service provided by BBAS was rated highly by 74 per cent of respondents. Finds that the workload of the three BBAS advisors is overstretched and that there is a need to clarify service delivery procedures and processes.


Recommends that the BBAS is retained but that its scope is expanded. Suggests that greater focus is given to the branding and promotion of BBAS, with case studies used to illustrate how the service can provide help at different stages of the lifecycle of a biotechnology or life sciences company/project. Recommends that service level agreements are established, that six BBAS advisors are employed, and that these advisors are selected on their expertise in the life sciences and also their business acumen. Suggests that the European Structural Funds could be a potential source of future funding, and advises that the expanded and revised BBAS be monitored closely in its first year of operation.

Author EKOS Limited
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Entrepreneurship/new firm formation, Support to existing/growth businesses
  • Innovation
  • Sectors
    Life Sciences