AbstractThis study is an independent and critical assessment of the Business Link Start-up Service (BLSS) in the creation of new ventures in the East Midlands. The BLSS was part of the region’s £70m annual investment in business support (2007-10). THE BLSS was delivered in the five counties of the East Midlands region and included the four Business Link Contractors (BLCs). The study uses a sequential mixed method approach to data collection and analysis. The data collection was multi-level and captures experiences, views and expectations at regional policy and funding level (East Midlands Development Agency), contract management level (East Midlands Business), contractor level (Nottingham Business Ventures, Northampton Business School, Skills for Enterprise, and Derbyshire Enterprise Agency), and nascent entrepreneur level. Semi-structured interviews were used to understand the context and experiences in the provision of the BLSS. The qualitative data illuminates shared experiences in the context of entrepreneurship support provision. The quantitative study (a survey of 105 participants), is an analysis of the nascent entrepreneurs’ profiles who were at different stages of new venture creation, their access of the BLSS (training, business advice, and information) and progress to new venture creation (NVC). The BLSS product was well designed to provide a balance of flexibility and structure in meeting nascent entrepreneur needs. However, BLSS contract and output targets (measures) distorted the delivery process. The delivering of BLSS by contractors was adapted to ‘deliver’ the required outputs. The focus on ‘hitting targets’ is a threading theme in the discussion. The behaviour of the contractors limited the capacity of the BLSS to ensure the progress of individuals from one stage to another when they are counted as an output. This evaluation of business support led to the development of a ‘new’ nascent entrepreneur support model which is expected to help in redefining of the objectives and measures for start-up support programmes. The ‘new’ model fully recognises the need to progressively develop individuals through to start-up without ignoring the complexity of creating a new business and the need for evolving support throughout the start-up process
|Date of Award||2012|
Business start-up dilemma: support nascent entrepreneurs or deliver contracts?
Mangezi, T. (Author). 2012
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis