In Summer 2015, the RPC team undertook a small study to evaluate the impact of the S J Noble Trust’s funding for rural businesses operating in the Argyll and the Islands area. The Policy Briefing from the study can be downloaded below.
The key findings of the study were that most businesses had used the grant and/or loan from the Trust (which was usually under £10,000) to purchase a new piece of equipment or building for their business to start-up or expand. Recipients valued the straightforward and personal but rigorous nature of the application process. It was clear that the Trust has brought considerable benefits for individual businesses as well as the wider Argyll economy.
The study provides a number of specific recommendations for the Trust in future, and for business support provision more generally, including the need to maintain small-scale financial support, often alongside other advice, to encourage entrepreneurial ideas, the importance of disseminating good ideas, the need for clarity over the roles of different business support providers, and the need to ensure application and monitoring processes are robust and transparent, but manageable.
This study is part of a broader programme of work being undertaken by the RPC on rural enterprise in Scotland. In particular we are focusing on improving the evidence base relating to non-land based businesses. Further information about this work will be available in due course, but if you would like to know more please contact the RPC team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
2015: S J Noble Trust policy briefing