Thursday, 15 May 2008

Doug Richards Rips into Business Link

Claire West’s article Dragons’ Den Entrepreneur Doug Richard Wants To Replace Business Link shows how Doug has rattled a few cages! (I was running a great programme foe Business Link London yesterday, as it happens!)

Doug described the current system, which involves over 3,000 different schemes run by 2,000 public bodies and their contractors, as "confusing and out of control".

Around two-thirds of the £2.5 billion spent on the system goes on telling companies where to find advice.
Doug laid out a number of recommendations to improve the support given to businesses, including:
- Creating a single, national, web-based Business Information System
- Improving access to finance for SME's
- Helping small businesses secure more Government contracts
- Overhauling enterprise education in schools.

This full-frontal attack on the Business Link movement gives the BL a great opportunity to strike back and prove what great value they offer. Let’s see how their PR machine gets into gear.

Anyone who knows me will know how I bang on about cost per delegate or customer acquisition cost etc. So, doing the numbers on the BL…

£2.5 billion split between 4 million businesses equates to £625 per business. But... BL claim that they have reached 10% of the 4 million businesses which suggests that BL has spent £6,250 accessing/working with each of those 400,000 businesses. And 2/3rds is spend on signposting.

The questions are:
- Is this good value for money?
- Is there a more effective way to distribute the money?
- Is there a better way of stimulating the UK economy?

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