Category Archive: Strategy

Jun 20 2016

Venture capital for low carbon businesses

We prepared the first phase of an ex ante evaluation of the Low Carbon Innovation Fund England (LCIF England) on behalf of the Adapt Low Carbon Group at the University of East Anglia. This was proposed as an early stage venture capital fund to back growth businesses which are developing innovative products or processes in a low carbon, environmentally sensitive manner. It was progressed in collaboration with a number of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and intended to secure funding through European Union funding for 2014-20.

The concept of LCIF England was based on that of the successful Low Carbon Innovation Fund established under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme for the East of England 2007-2014. This fund has matched £20.5m ERDF with over £50m private sector co-investment, assisting 72 companies to access risk capital.

Our research concentrated on a market assessment, of the demand and supply of risk capital for innovative businesses, set in the strategic and policy context. We made full use of  relevant small business and equity capital research and data sources, including the very valuable Beauhurst database of deal activity which allows analysis at the level of Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Plans for LCIF England have had to be changed dramatically in the light of changes in ERDF policy and delivery arrangements, with procurement decisions in the hands of individual LEPs. Our research, however, provides a platform for a number of LEPs in taking their own, joint funds forward.

Ex Ante Evaluation
For any new fund, or ‘Financial Instrument’ in EU terms, there is a requirement to prepare an ‘ex ante evaluation’. This work is designed to ensure the development of robust business case for any fund, while meeting government and EU requirements. Objectives include:

  • substantiating the case for public funding, based on evidence of market failure in addressing funding gaps for growth businesses and added value a fund can bring
  • ensuring that lessons are learnt from the experience of relevant early stage VC funds such as LCIF
  • informing how the Fund will work: its investment strategy, its governance and management, and how it will work in participating LEP areas

We carried out the ex ante evaluation in conjunction with Futureneering Ltd of Cambridge. Together, we bring complementary expertise in economic development, low carbon technologies, risk capital and evaluation.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=1319

Feb 20 2016

Economic Growth Advisor

The Economic Growth Advisor (EGA) programme was introduced by the Local Government Association in 2014 to promote, facilitate and enhance the role of local authorities in delivering economic growth. Derrick Johnstone was recruited to the panel of EGAs, whose role has been to offer bespoke advice and support to individual local authorities.trdc-logo

Derrick advised Three Rivers District Council in Hertfordshire (see LGA case study):

  • providing a fresh look at the local evidence base around economic growth, contributing to an updated Economic Profile
  • preparing a ‘critical friend’ report to the Management Board recommending steps to sharpen the Council’s approach to economic development
  • identifying good practice advice on introducing a Business Charter
  • advising on the content and structure of a revised Economic Development Strategy.

The ‘critical friend’ role was particularly valued, highlighting how, in low cost ways, the Council can add more value in pursuit of economic growth.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=1286

Dec 20 2013

Plotting a course – The Prospects Trust

The Prospects Trust is a well-established local charity working with people who have learning disabilities. They provide training and work opportunities in horticulture, organic market gardening, and off-site garden services. They were one of the runners-up in the National Lottery ‘People’s Millions’ competition in 2013. Prospects-Trust

Recent years have seen the Trust grow, not least in the number of co-workers assisted by personal support workers. The time was right in Autumn 2013 for staff and trustees to come together for a strategy workshop facilitated by Derrick Johnstone. Participants took stock of the current position of the Trust and its ethos, and considered its future direction as a social enterprise. Actions agreed included steps to strengthen business development and people management functions, necessary given the Trust’s expansion, and to provide greater opportunities for support workers to progress.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=1233

Jun 04 2011

Doncaster Work & Skills Plan

Derrick Johnstone advised Doncaster Council and the Work and Skills Steering Group of Doncaster Together on their Work and Skills Plan. This built on the Local Economic Assessment and set out to make the most of the added value of partnership working, in the context of far-reaching changes in funding and national policy. It provided the basis for discussions on the introduction locally of the DWP Work Programme, and prioritised action around employer engagement; labour market intelligence; information, advice and guidance; and targeted support for individuals and families. It has also informed the work of South Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership on skills.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=278

Sep 21 2010

Reducing Worklessness in Norfolk

We assisted Norfolk County Council and partners in developing the Worklessness Assessment and Framework for the county, in partnership with OCSI and Papworth Consulting.Elements of the work included:

  • analysis of changes in the Norfolk labour market, needs and barriers amongst disadvantaged groups
  • customer research, focusing on the needs and experiences of individuals from different groups and parts of the county
  • pulling together information on current worklessness provision in the county, building on a regional mapping project undertaken by the University of Glasgow
  • reviewing the implications of a changing policy environment
The Worklessness Assessment fed into the Norfolk Economic Assessment and the County’s Child Poverty Assessment and Strategy. The work subsequently provided a basis for influencing the delivery of the Work Programme in the county.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=258

May 27 2009

Tackling Worklessness Review

Derrick Johnstone acted as lead Neighbourhood Renewal Adviser for CLG and DWP in support of the Tackling Worklessness Review (2008/09) led by Councillor Stephen Houghton, Leader of Barnsley Council. This investigated the role of local authorities and partnerships and its final report proved influential, with the then Government accepting many of the recommendations. These include the introduction of the Future Jobs Fund, intended to create short-term jobs aimed at young people and at localities hardest hit by the recession.Derrick’s input involved co-ordination of NRA contributions to the Review, including support for fact-finding visits and analysis of briefings and visit reports, eg, in identifying good and promising practice and use of the Working Neighbourhoods Fund. He also presented on the Review to a conference organised by the National Association for Neighbourhood Management on ‘Tackling Worklessness: A pivotal role for neighbourhood management?’.

Material from this research phase fed into case studies and ‘How to’ guides published by the IDeA. Educe prepared case studies on the Manchester Economic Development Services Framework (which marks a radical change in the City Council’s apporach to commissioning services), and Enable, Nottingham (a highly successful learning and skills consortium in the voluntary and community sector).

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=239

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