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Ettrick Riverside Project evaluation


The Ettrick Riverside Project involved the refurbishment of a Grade A listed building in the Riverside industrial area of Selkirk into office space for start-up and growth businesses. Biggar Economics was appointed by Scottish Enterprise (SE) Borders to evaluate the project’s operation from March 2002 to August 2005.


People from organisations with a direct interest in the project were consulted. Face-to-face interviews were held with tenant businesses at Ettrick Riverside, and quantitative information was gathered about these businesses’ performance.


Ettrick Riverside was found to be meeting its objective of providing a nurturing environment for new and developing businesses. The presence of Business Gateway was found to be crucial to this, and letting criteria supportive of the project’s aims. The project was found to be contributing to Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Executive’s strategic aims for economic development. The rationale for public sector intervention was satisfied by the project’s performance. Nearly twenty per cent of all enquiries were being converted into actual tenancies. Tenants were generally satisfied with the facilities and the premises were found to be having a positive effect on business. Key areas of dissatisfaction were with catering facilities in the premises and the lack of flexibility with regard to marketing and signage.


In moving forward, Scottish Enterprise Borders was recommended to: maintain regional links; explore the possibility of further integration with SE Borders’ Diversification Team; consider allowing ‘hotdesking’ by venture capital interests; consider integrating the project into key national or sectoral strategies; develop an integrated marketing plan; be flexible in the future development of the premises; and learn from the evaluation how to set up similar business units in the area.

Author Biggar Economics
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Business infrastructure
    Area regeneration
  • Enterprise
    Entrepreneurship/new firm formation, Support to existing/growth businesses