An independent evaluation of Growth Hubs across England between 2015 and 2020, commissioned by the Government, concludes that Growth Hubs increase turnover, business research and development (R&D), access to finance, and boost employment.
The report, Evaluation of the Growth Hubs: 2015 – 2020, conducted by Technopolis on behalf of the Government, sought to consider how Growth Hubs operate, to understand their role in the wider business support landscape and to explore their impact. The report concludes that:
- Growth Hubs are successful, and proven to work, especially for Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs). They have a strong reputation for reliability and independence among stakeholders, partners and businesses.
- They reached 8% of all businesses in England – higher than the 2.5% ambition set by Government.
- Growth Hubs simplify the business support landscape, undertaking significant stakeholder engagement and management, enabling local businesses to access the support and help available more easily in their local areas.
- National and regional stakeholders saw Growth Hubs as having a unique understanding of local needs and strengths. This local strength and insight reaches local businesses where national programmes may not.
- Engagement with Growth Hubs boosted employment levels for supported businesses: beneficiaries demonstrated an average 14% increase in employment one year after first engagement and an average 22% increase in employment after five years.
- In terms of turnover, there is clear sustained growth. Relative to the baseline, beneficiaries report an average increase of £782k one year after the first intervention, compared to £294k for non-beneficiaries. The equivalent increase five years post Growth Hub engagement is higher, at £953k.
- Businesses see the ‘human-centred’ approach of the Growth Hubs being of immense value, both in terms of dealing with partners and also with beneficiaries; businesses felt this was essential and advantageous, particularly in times of heightened uncertainty.
- In summary, Growth Hubs boosted turnover, increased business R&D and access to finance, and improved employment levels for local businesses.
The report makes five recommendations to Government:
- Improve communication and marketing of the network.
- Increase resourcing for the Growth Hubs, directly or indirectly.
- Support further development of the offer, learning from the experience of the pandemic.
- Deliver consistency of the offer across the network.
- Improve data collection and reduce bureaucracy.
Will Morlidge, Chief Executive, D2N2 LEP said: “I was delighted to read this very positive independent evaluation of the Growth Hub programme. I would like to congratulate colleagues at the D2N2 Growth Hub and East Midlands Chamber for all their fantastic work over the years supporting local businesses and, as part of the Growth Hub Network, delivering such an impact. We look forward to hearing the Government’s response to the recommendations in due course.”
Read more here about the D2N2 Growth Hub, including case studies from local businesses.
For media enquiries contact:
Nicola Swaney, Head of External Affairs, D2N2 LEP