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Introducing our toolkit on Business Advice

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Today we launch our second  toolkit on business advice. The first on employment training was launched last month and is available here.

Compared to our evidence reviews the toolkits try to provide insights on what evidence tells us about what works better when implementing a particular policy. In other words, are there aspects of policy design that improve policy effectiveness? Henry’s blog introducing the toolkits provides more detail on how they relate to the evidence reviews and the work of the Centre more widely.

The toolkit covers five types of business support –  trainingmentoringtailored supportsubsidised consultancy, and public advice services. For each type of business advice it sets out how much is known about the effectiveness of these different forms of advice.

The toolkits also set out some of the issues that policy-makers need to consider before they design and implement a particular business advice approach, including:

  • When to provide support? The effect of support to firms and entrepreneurs may depend on when advice is provided, with greater benefits more likely coming from support provided before rather than after business start-up.
  • How long should support be provided? There may be diminishing returns to the number of hours spent supporting a particular business which suggests that mechanisms to limit the quantity of advice provided may improve cost-effectiveness.
  • What type of firm will benefit most? The costs and benefits of support may differ according to the type of firm (e.g. large firms may benefit more) and the characteristics of the entrepreneur (e.g. unemployed don’t forgo earnings).