Published 14 November 2014

Impact Evaluation of a Programme to Provide Improved Business Counselling for Entrepreneurs with a Foreign Background

The Assignment

This study is an evaluation of the business counselling projects implemented as part of the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth’s Programme for entrepreneurs with a foreign background during the period 2008-10. The purpose of the study is to examine the impact of participating in a counselling project on firm growth and the chances of firm survival. The study is a background report as part of Growth Analysis’ ongoing commission to evaluate state-funded business counselling services.

Results and conclusions

The analyses show that there are no statistically significant differences between companies that participated in the programme and comparable companies with regard to growth in production value, value added or productivity. Companies that participated in the counselling programme are more likely to survive than similar companies that did not participate in a counselling project. Employment also increases more in companies that participated in the counselling programme than firms in the comparison group.

The actual programme participants consisted of firms that were less established than the target group initially intended. The companies included in the analysis are representative of the original target group. The positive, but not statistically significant, results in this study should possibly be interpreted in relation to the fact that the implementation of the programme perhaps did not live up to the original ambition.

Proposals and recommendations

The initiative was intended both to give advice to established companies and to develop methods for reaching the target group. Measures should be implemented to ensure that the initiative can be evaluated at both project level and policy level, in order to facilitate learning. It would also be useful to gain a greater understanding of the growth process of companies, in order to improve future evaluations by better controlling for potential sample selection.

Future investigations/Continued learning

Business development projects within the context of the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth’s programme Promoting women's entrepreneurship during the programme period 2010-14 will provide greater potential for evaluations of this type of initiative owing to a larger number of participants.