Book News: January 20th, 2009

Communities and Local Government have set out a baseline for evaluating the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative which funds twenty partnerships to increase levels of enterprise in deprived areas. The aims are to release the productivity and economic potential of the most deprived local areas and their inhabitants through enterprise and investment and boost local incomes and employment opportunities.

The survey of projects revealed a mixed picture relating to enterprise with some improvements, but some worsening performances. The baseline analysis shows that LEGI areas have a wide gap to make up with the England average, with limited signs of the gap narrowing.

The majority of projects are focused on improving the competitiveness of businesses via business support, finance and physical investment in business facilities. Some 40 per cent of resources are focused on residents of LEGI areas, such as young people, unemployed and those seeking to start a business.

Targeting of projects on groups under-represented in enterprise activities, such as women, black and minority ethnic communities and young people, was quite limited.

The benefits of the projects include a better understanding of the barriers to enterprise and greater cross-organisation working. A more general effect is that enterprise has been pushed up local agendas and this has brought a greater awareness of the need to tackle the local enterprise gap, particularly with local authorities.

The Enterprise Growth Baseline is available from DCLG.