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Evaluation of e-business advisory support


E-business advisory support is provided by Enterprise North-East Trust (E-Net), under the Scottish Enterprise Grampian Business Gateway service. The support aims to correct market failure by: raising awareness of the business benefits of information and communication technology (ICT); providing support to businesses in developing invitation to tender for private ICT consultancy; and providing access to limited free basic consultancy. It aligns with national objectives to enable high growth businesses to maximise their return on their investment in e-business.


The evaluation involved desk research; an email and telephone survey of 102 participating businesses; and 3 face to face consultations with the representatives of E-Net and two other e-business service providers in Grampian - Building Buchan, and Huntly Ebusiness Demonstration Centre.


The evaluation found that additionality (the extent to which the outcomes were achieved as a result of the support) was medium to low. The support tended to speed up or improve the quality of e-business activities that businesses were already contemplating. Duplication of services was an issue, with two other organisations providing very similar services.


The report recommends that the programme and the advisers seek to maximise the impact they have by focusing more on the outcomes of the intervention and less on the activity targets – such as the number of businesses assisted. Specifically, the overall number of assists should be reduced and should focus on slightly bigger businesses; the adviser at the Demonstration Centre should be employed as part of the E-Net contract; the E-Net e-business support should work with Building Buchan to limit overlap and confusion; the programme should have the capacity for advisers to work more intensively with businesses; and opportunities to work within Aberdeen and to partner with the Chamber of Commerce or Federation of Small Businesses should be explored.

Author SQW Limited
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Business infrastructure
    Company specific
  • Sectors
    Digital markets and enabling technologies
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses