Client: The North East Business Support Fund (NEBSF), delivered by Northumberland Business Services Ltd (NBSL) aims to increase economic growth in the region, by supporting SMEs to unlock their growth potential and improve business performance.
Project: We were initially appointed to evaluate the North East Business Support Fund (1) by NBSL in 2012, and subsequently the second phase of the Fund during 2014 and 2015. Our work evaluating both projects involved an interim evaluation to assess performance against targets, identify lessons learned to improve delivery of the programme during the remainder of the ERDF funding period, and a final evaluation that assessed economic impact, including employment and GVA generated by the programme. Both evaluations involved large-scale telephone and online surveys with businesses benefitting from the Programme. A total of 156 SMEs were surveyed during the NEBSF Phase 1 evaluation, and further 250 during the Phase 2 evaluation.
Impact: The evaluation results were used by NBSL to support bids for further ERDF funding to support the continuation of the Programme into 2016 and beyond.