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Growth Vouchers

7th Aug 2013

We’ve been working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on the £30 million business support programme which was announced at Budget. The announcement in the budget stipulated that the programme would be run as a randomised controlled trial (RCT), the first time that we know of where the government has explicitly required a programme to be conducted as an RCT in order for it to go ahead. Growth Vouchers are a different approach to Government business support. The aim of the scheme is to help businesses grow but at the same time to build a robust evidence base on what the most effective things are that government can do to help businesses achieve growth. The scheme will offer support to businesses in a number of ways (for example, giving subsidies – voucher s – to help pay for external advice). But the design of the programme will help us to answer a number of questions about business advice. For example, does the existence of a subsidy encourage businesses to seek advice? And does that subsidy lead to better business outcomes? And what type of advice is it most effective to subsidise? The scheme will be run as an RCT because that will give us the most robust answers to these questions. This means that some firms who qualify for the scheme will not be given the vouchers on a random basis. It is essential that we design the programme like this so we can be sure that if there is a positive outcome, it is due to the subsidy, rather than that company’s propensity to seek a subsidy. Those companies that do not receive a voucher will still benefit from being given information about the advice which is suitable for them, though they will not receive a subsidy to help pay for that advice. You can find out more about Growth Vouchers here.