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e-Businessadvisers Programme: final project report


The e-Businessadvisers Programme, which ran from 2000 to 2005, was designed to address two principal market failures: companies’ lack of strategic preparation for e-business; and weaknesses in the provider community’s ability to engage with clients. The original aims of programme were to: assist the growth and increase the competitiveness of SMEs across Scotland; increase the size and quality of the e-business adviser community; and improve the quality of the e-business supplier community. The evaluation aimed to produce a final project report that put the programme into context and told its story from beginning to end, incorporating both an impact and a process review.


The methodology consisted of desk research and consultation with key stakeholders, including Scottish Enterprise Network (SEN) e-business staff, local enterprise company (LEC) e-business managers and e-businessadvisers.


There was found to be strong evidence that the programme was successful in generating considerable impacts amongst the assisted companies in terms of sales and employment, suggesting that SME companies have been successful in implementing e-business to improve competitiveness. However, the extent to which the size and quality of the adviser community had been increased was questioned. It was also found that there was a lack of evidence from the research undertaken to objectively assess whether the programme developed the supply side to improve their skills in terms of engaging with the business community. NB the economic impact calculations in this report do not wholly adhere to the Scottish Enterprise Economic Impact Assessment Guidance launched in 2006, therefore please treat these figures with caution. Please use the "Contact Us" button if you need more information.


It was recommended that, in future, processes and systems of this type should be kept as simple as possible and there should be clear communication across the Network as to their application on the ground. It was also suggested that greater emphasis should be placed on the use of case studies and good practice examples to increase understanding and aid effective targeting of support. The evaluation recommended that there should be an appropriate balance struck in the role of project management between administration and more developmental areas, and that in programmes involving the use of a pool of external contractors greater effort should be put into ensuring the integration of these contractors into the Network. It also recommended that there should be a facility put in place to allow the LECs and SEN access to a pool of specialist advisers when required, but this facility should ensure that there is clear access to the skills base and emphasis should be put on skills taking priority over geography to ensure cross-fertilisation of experience. The final recommendation was that SE should avoid the temptation of using all available funding without consideration of the possible overlaps or duplication in support.

Author DTZ Pieda Consulting
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Business infrastructure
    Company specific
  • Innovation
    Business innovation, Innovation system