Business Link: Use, Satisfaction and Comparison with Business Shop and Business Connect

Robert Bennett, Paul Robson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper assesses the level of use and satisfaction with Business Link services in England and Business Shop and Business Connect services in Scotland and Wales. These services are the result of government initiatives to provide support services to small and medium‐sized firms. The paper uses the large scale 1997 survey of the Cambridge ESRC Centre for Business Research. Important findings are that whilst use levels of Business Link are relatively high, they are focused chiefly on information, training and grants, with a secondary focus on specialist advice. The chief additions to the system as a result of DTI development, of personal advisors and diagnostic assessment, both have low use and satisfaction levels. A second key finding is that there are few statistically significant differences of satisfaction levels by firm type. Of greatest policy concern are: (i) the tension between the actual use patterns of BL services, which concentrate on information, grants and specialist advice, and their design focus on PBAs and diagnostic assessment, (ii) the wide variation in satisfaction levels assessed by clients of both BL and BS/BC, which must largely reflect quality variation of management and advisors in each system, and (in) questions about the additionality of both initiatives and their potential competition with other private and public sector suppliers of business advice.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)107
Number of pages131
JournalPolicy Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • business advice
  • business link

Cite this