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The High Growth Start Up Programme, January 2003 - December 2005: an evaluation


The High Growth Start up Programme (HGSU), contracted out to the Maitland Partnership (TMP) by Scottish Enterprise (SE) Ayrshire, aimed to target new businesses where, by year 3, employment is expected to be 15 jobs or more, or the targeted turnover is in excess of £750,000. The programme aimed to offer these new businesses tailored start-up advice and support, as well as ongoing support for a further 24 months. The evaluation aimed to investigate: the impact of the HGSU programme; the appropriateness of its activity; the outputs achieved; the measurement of its impacts; the value for money it represents; and the effectiveness of the contract delivering the programme.


The evaluation methodology consisted of: desk research, surveys (face-to-face and telephone) with stakeholders, start-up businesses and pre-start-up businesses; an analysis of results, including a draft report; and a review of results with SE Ayrshire.


The emphasis of HGSU support at present is the signposting to and application for funding. Notes that HGSU has achieved its target. Suggests that to the delivery of HGSU, TMP has brought strengths of mentoring, fundraising networks and procedures, and weaknesses of specialist and post-start up support. There is an overall lack of quantifiable business impacts that would allow for an accurate value for money calculation.


Recommends that HGSU is developed as a ‘knowledge bank’, consisting of a range of general and specialist experts who can deliver bespoke advice. Suggests that greater responsibility for delivery of the programme is taken within SE Ayrshire and that an account manager is appointed to each HGSU client at the start-up stage. Concludes that more internal delivery activity and specialist support will lead to clearer recognition of attribution and additionality. Recommends that HGSU is packaged within the promotion of business start-up services within SE Ayrshire.

Author Lindsay Dempster; Alastair McGhee; Craig Smith (T L Dempster Strategy and Research)
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Entrepreneurship/new firm formation, High growth entrepreneurship
  • Innovation
    Company building