A range of activity is delivered through a single Business Wales brand.
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These activities and the focus of this evaluation include:
- Business Wales Core and Growth service
- Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP)
- Youth Entrepreneurship (YE)
- Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (REAP)
- Superfast Broadband Exploitation Programme (SFBE).
The research has included an examination of the implementation of the programmes to date, assessed the progress made in meeting Welsh Government and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme targets including cross cutting themes. It has also explored the emerging impact of the programme on businesses and individuals.
Welsh Government commissioned a Mid-term Evaluation of Business Support Services in Wales and the research was undertaken by ICF Consulting between June 2017 and September 2018.
- The Business Wales service was conceived as a ‘one stop shop’ for businesses and start-ups to access support and this is on the way to being achieved.
- The service model is operating well and the programmes are delivered to a high standard.
- The Business Wales brand has built a strong reputation among beneficiaries who believe that the support and advice offered is impartial, trusted and accessible.
- There is general agreement among business support providers that Business Wales complements other business support offered and fills a large gap in what is available for entrepreneurs and businesses.
- Businesses and entrepreneurs interviewed reported that they had made improvements to their business activities as result of the advice and support they received. Most could point to positive effects on their efficiency or turnover.
- The programmes have created business growth. At the time analysis of monitoring information was undertaken for the evaluation, supported businesses had increased exports by £66m (£183,000 per business supported) and created 8,223 jobs.
- Progress against ERDF output targets has been mixed.
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