This assignment is an impact evaluation of counselling initiatives in Almi's regional companies during the period 2005–2010. The objective of the study is to determine whether an established firm that has received counselling via Almi has a higher growth in production value and employment, as well as a higher survival probability than firms that have not enjoyed such counselling. The study is a background report as part of Growth Analysis’ ongoing assignment to evaluate state-funded business counselling services.
In the report, counselling is defined in two different ways. The first assumes that a firm has received counselling from Almi if it has made at least one counselling visit. There are borderline significant positive effects on production value and employment rate for some years. In other years the effects are smaller and not statistically significant. Effect sizes are in line with the results from earlier evaluations. Firms that have received counselling via Almi have a probability of survival two years after counselling that is just below two per cent higher than for firms that did not receive counselling.
The second definition of counselling is based on the assumption that a firm has received counselling if the firm has made at least two counselling visits to Almi. The modified definition does not affect results to any great extent. None of the effects on any of the target variables are statistically significant. Nor is there any statistically significant impact on a company's survival when counselling is defined as at least two counselling visits.
We conclude that it is not possible to estimate the impact of Almi's business counselling on growth, profitability or survival probability of firms, at conventional levels of statistical significance.
There were significant weaknesses in the data Growth Analysis was given access to and which form the basis of the impact evaluation. Above all, missing data on which firms took part in business counselling was a major problem. Before making a new attempt to assess the impact of the operation, it is important to improve monitoring so that it becomes possible to identify counselled firms to a greater extent.
Impact Evaluation of Business Counselling Services Provided by a State-Owned Company