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Government advice networks for SMEs: an assessment of the influence of local context on Business Link use, impact and satisfaction

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  • R. J. Bennett
  • P. J. A. Robson
  • W. J. A. Bratton

Abstract

Business Link in Britain is one of the main recent government initiatives to support SMEs in the EU. The paper uses a 1997 survey of SMEs to determine how Business Link use, impact and satisfaction are influenced by firm characteristics, local partnership characteristics, local geographical context, service intensity and other explanatory variables. The paper presents econometric estimates based on logit and ordered logit models. A key finding of the paper is to demonstrate that local context is not very significant to service use, impact or satisfaction, but local Business Link management and adviser performance are important influences on the impact and satisfaction. Major differences in the way SMEs use government-backed services are also found. There are high volumes of use of 'gateway' information services producing only low impact, and low volumes but high impacts and satisfaction with intensive advice services governed by contracts between the clients and the adviser. Implications for the Small Business Service, launched in April 2000, are drawn.

Suggested Citation

  • R. J. Bennett & P. J. A. Robson & W. J. A. Bratton, 2001. "Government advice networks for SMEs: an assessment of the influence of local context on Business Link use, impact and satisfaction," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(7), pages 871-885.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:33:y:2001:i:7:p:871-885
    DOI: 10.1080/00036840121626
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    Cited by:

    1. Vivas-Augier, Carlos & Barge-Gil, Andrés, 2012. "Impact on firms of the use of knowledge providers: a systematic review of the literature," MPRA Paper 41042, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Capelleras, Joan-Lluis & Mole, Kevin F., 2012. "How ‘buzz’ reduces uncertainty for new firm founders," MPRA Paper 38170, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Carlos Vivas & Andrés Barge-Gil, 2015. "Impact On Firms Of The Use Of Knowledge External Sources: A Systematic Review Of The Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(5), pages 943-964, December.
    4. Gerrit Sarens & Patricia Everaert & Frederik Verplancke & Ignace Beelde, 2015. "Diversification of External Accountants Serving Small and Medium-sized Enterprises: Evidence from Belgium," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 25(2), pages 155-174, June.
    5. Peter Johnson, 2005. "Targeting Firm Births and Economic Regeneration in a Lagging Region," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 24(5), pages 451-464, June.

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