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Enterprise and Business Support


The Adroit team has appraised and evaluated a wide range of business incubators, enterprise centres and business support programmes over the last 20 years, for local authorities, for city regions, for the RDAs and devolved administrations and for BIS and its predecessor departments.


With the demise of the RDAs and of Business Link, delivery of business support policy is now back in the hands of the local authorities and LEPs and a number are delivering a new generation of high impact schemes, that support large numbers of pre-starts, start-ups and young new business, through provision of business incubators that provide a rich mix of touch-down and drop-in space, networking and collaboration opportunities coupled with a full menu of training and advice. 


Adroit has appraised and evaluated a number of these schemes, assessing both current impacts and future impacts over the life of the scheme and our findings suggest that such schemes have high impact, often at relatively low cost and hence, represent high value-for-money policy investments.


Value added we bring to this policy field:

  • 20 years’ experience of business incubator and enterprise centres – appraisals, business cases, impact, evaluations – of individual schemes and of portfolios (i.e. the Northeast’s c.90 incubators and enterprise centres, Yorkshire and the Humber’s 30+ rural schemes)

  • Evaluated a range of very different business and innovation business support programmes (national, regional and locally-focussed programmes) – understanding of the types, nature and extent of impacts that derive

  • Understanding of the types of features, facilities and support that are important and that are less important

  • Developed a suite of models and appraisal tools which can be applied to proposed schemes – see below

  • Growing library of case studies of pre-starts, start-ups and young businesses helped by centres and schemes


Specialist models and research tools developed by the Adroit team:

  • 10-year NPV cost-benefit incubator/innovation/ enterprise centre appraisal and evaluation tool

  • Spin-out impact modelling tool

  • Value for money (RoI) assessment tool for grant funding of incubators

Examples of recent assignments:

  • Adroit evaluated Westminster City Council’s innovative business incubator – Hub Westminster.  This is one of a new generation of business incubators capable of supporting a large number of pre-starts, start-ups and young businesses through providing a combination of flexible touch-down/ hot-desking space, networking facilities and a wide range of support services

  • Adroit appraised Westminster City Council’s proposals to establish the 2nd ‘TechShop’ in the UK…a US franchise model that provides dedicated workshop and prototyping space, £0.5m worth of specialist design software, tools and materials and trainers, enabling those who want to start a business that makes things, to do so in a highly supportive environmen

  • Adroit undertook cost-benefit analysis of options to develop a new London Technology Campus in Wimbledon, for the London Borough of Merton

  • Adroit evaluated the British Library's major business support programme which provides advice on IP and other business start-up and growth issues, serving c 2,200

  • Adroit evaluated Westminster City Council's business support programmes delivered by its libraries and enterprise support centres

  • Adroit evaluated the British Library's Newcastle City Library business support programme which provides advice on IP and other business start-up and growth

  • Adroit completed a 3 year rolling evaluation of London Metropolitan University's Digital Manufacturing support


Examples of earlier assignments – demonstrating the evolution of our expertise:

  • We were part of a team that mapped and advised on future investment priorities for the North East’s c.90 incubators and enterprise centres (for ONE Northeast)

  • We were part of a team that mapped and advised on future investment priorities for Yorkshire and the Humber’s 30+ rural  enterprise centres (for Yorkshire Forward)

  • We were part of a team that identified investment priorities for Lancashire’s rural enterprise centres (for NWDA). 

  • Dr Sheppard presented to BERR and HM Treasury, on behalf of all the RDAs,  the case for retaining ICT Business Support as a vital component of England’s business support strategy (for all the RDAs)

  • Team members evaluation of the Northwest’s business innovation support programme (for NWDA)

  • Adroit reviewed and internationally benchmarked the Highlands and Islands (of Scotland) Innovation Eco System (for HIE)

  • Adroit undertook an interim evaluation of Supply London and London Value Chain Projects (for LDA)

  • We assessed the impact of the Northwest Manufacturing Advisory Service in the Northwest, for the Manufacturing Institute

  • We undertook an impact evaluation of the Heathrow City Enterprise Project (HCEP) run by the Heathrow City Partnership based in Southall.

  • Adroit undertook an interim impact evaluation of the LDA funded Promotion of London project, a three year project that aims to increase levels of investment in the capital and to raise the profile and reputation of the Agency itself.

  • We evaluated ONE Northeast’s eBusiness support programme (for ONE Northeast)

  • Team members appraisal SWRDA’s incubators across the south west, in partnership with UKBI (for SWRDA)

  • Team members helped assess the feasibility of 10 incubator proposals, across England (for the Small Business Service and the DTI)

  • We developed a business case for and undertook an options appraisal for the first Welsh Technium in Swansea (for the WDA), then of subsequent proposals across Wales

  • Dr Sheppard was part of a team helping formulate NWDA’s first enterprise strategy for the North West

  • Team members evaluated of all of Scottish Enterprise’s eBusiness support programmes and advised on refocusing spend for the next five years. 

  • Team members undertook a similar evaluation of Yorkshire Forward’s eBusiness and Broadband Access projects, advising on way forward for next five years

  • Team members undertook a detailed assessment of the impact of broadband and eBusiness on SMEs in Devon, for SWREDA and the Broadband4Devon team

  • Team members appraised AWM’s region-wide eBusiness support proposals to be delivered through the Business Link Network.  We went on to help secure CPRG/ Treasury approval for circa £25m funding

  • Team members evaluated the DTI’s business innovation network

  • Team members evaluated the UK Regional Supply Network (for the DTI)

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