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Evaluation of ‘Ask the Expert’ workshops


Scottish Enterprise Grampian (SEGr) established Ask the Expert Workshops as a response to research which found that most small business failures occur at the three year stage, at around the time that business start-up support is withdrawn. The workshops were designed to help businesses through this crucial stage in their development. The evaluation was carried out between January and March 2006 with the aim of assessing the success of the workshops in achieving their strategic objectives and providing appropriate support, and whether the project represented value for money.


The methodology comprised two main elements: a desk-based review of documentation, including project approval papers, beneficiary feedback sheets and relevant strategy documents; and a mix of face to face consultations and telephone interviews with delegates, experts, project co-ordinators and partners.


Key conclusions included the following: the delivery model has been positively shaped from several years’ of experimentation; responsibility for promotion, marketing and delivery is devolved from SEGr to the Enterprise North East Trust (ENET) and from there to local rural partnerships, which has proved to be an effective strategy; the project’s main objectives have been achieved, but its impact on businesses is difficult to assess; the style and format of the workshops has generated a generally favourable response; attendance has been a problematic area; and the project overall represents extremely good value for money.


It was recommended that, in order to address attendance issues and increase scalability potential, the project should: put more emphasis on promotion at community level as well as from ENET; link up with other SE initiatives and community activities; and follow up after the workshops to monitor progress. Broadly, it was recommended that Ask the Experts should continue in its current form.

Author SQW Limited
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses