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‘Whose Business Growth Hub Is It Anyway?’ Co-Production of a New Approach to Business Support for the North East of England

The North East After Brexit: Impact and Policy

ISBN: 978-1-83909-012-7, eISBN: 978-1-83909-009-7

Publication date: 28 November 2019


Business support programmes are characterised by the combined efforts of government, industry, universities and businesses, among other institutions, as interventions intended to contribute to the regions’ growth and economic development. In England, these programmes have been promoted by different governments under different names, the most recent historical incarnation being the regional Business link programmes which used an IDBT – information, diagnostic, brokerage and transaction – model under the auspices of the Regional Development Agencies (RDA) for over a decade. When the RDAs were replaced in 2010 by the establishment of 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in England, a new programme for Business Support was initiated – Business Growth Hubs. This chapter briefly reviews the literature related with business support and an analysis of the Business Growth hub programme and the initial responses of LEPs across England. It then reports on a project the authors were engaged in which applied a sociotechnical system framing of the problem utilising a Living Lab model approach to change. This new approach was aimed at engaging the stakeholders in a co-creation process, with the LEP, to work with the ‘installed base’ of business support activities in a northern region of England, UK. This new approach allows for long-term planning based on the interests of the member of the network, rather than on often narrow, short-term prescriptive understandings and interests of the policy-makers or the organisations enacting such programmes. The implications of the model proposed contributes to the current debate on regional economic development about business support by proposing a change in the role of the businesses from merely customers, to potential co-producers of advice and services, based on developing a shared vision and better infrastructure for development of the region.



Wilson, R., Martin, M. and Jamieson, D. (2019), "‘Whose Business Growth Hub Is It Anyway?’ Co-Production of a New Approach to Business Support for the North East of England", Liddle, J. and Shutt, J. (Ed.) The North East After Brexit: Impact and Policy (Brexit Studies Series), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 135-147.



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