GEN Research Partner Releases Handbook for Propelling Business Growth
Zurich, Switzerland
Photo Credit: Zurich, Switzerland
The Argidius Foundation has synthesized a decade’s worth of experience across the sector into a handbook that captures the most significant developments in the evidence base about how best to support growth-oriented enterprises.  
Harry
Devonshire
20 Oct 2021

The Argidius Foundation has synthesized a decade’s worth of experience across the sector into a handbook that captures the most significant developments in the evidence base about how best to support growth-oriented enterprises.  

The handbook, titled “How to Fulfill the Potential of Business Development Services using SCALE” reveals five key, evidence-based considerations for boosting business growth and job creation. The most effective business support schemes share the following characteristics. They: 

  1. Select the entrepreneurs they are best suited to assist 

  1. Focus on helping businesses diagnose and solve their particular problems (whether through acceleration, peer support, appropriate finance, consultants or new techniques) 

  1. Monitor and evaluate whether problems are solved, and performance improves (and adapt accordingly) 

  1. Charge a fee that signals enough commitment that the entrepreneur is willing to work on their problems but is not exclusionary and 

  1. Address their own organizational challenges particularly with regard to financial sustainability, building a capable and empowered team, and establishing effective governance because support providers are themselves often small growing businesses. 

These five considerations are labelled using the acronym “SCALE,” and even quite small changes of approach in relation to one or more of the considerations have been found to yield significant benefits to enterprise growth. 

The handbook contains a report and series of tools offering Business Development Service (BDS) providers and funders guidance on the five considerations. Case studies from six of the highest performing organizations in the space – those that are cost-effectively supporting enterprises to grow and generate employment – show how the characteristics are being applied in practice. Four sections, each with an interactive index, showcase evidence and good practices, promote reflection and provide tools to help with implementation. 

The report is available on the Argidius website. The tools can be accessed either through the website or the following links: 

  • A quick reference one-pager 

  • diagnostic tool for funders to assess and support BDS providers, and for BDS providers to self-assess against proven practices and identify opportunities 

  • reflection tool to facilitate discussion on good practices and areas for improvement, and 

  • Additional curated resources to support particular practices. 

The report is currently being translated into French, Spanish and Portuguese. It is our hope that it improves the effectiveness of business support organizations, fostering job creation, and empowers the sector to advocate for effective policies and practices.

Harry Devonshire

Evaluation Officer | Argidius Foundation

Argidius Foundation aims to help entrepreneurs to build profitable businesses and contribute to the sustainable development of their communities.… More