European Commission - Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

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Enterprise Zones

Policy objectives Plus
4.1. Direct funding to business R&D and innovation
4.5. Knowledge transfer and cooperation between firms (incl. technology acquisition)
5.4. Innovation management and advisory services
Presentation of the measure:

Enterprise Zones are areas around the country that support both new and expanding businesses by offering incentives. There are currently 24 Enterprise Zones across England.

Creating the base of a business in an Enterprise Zone gives several benefits, such as: financial benefits, an on-line customer base, a straightforward planning process, and business-ready infrastructure. Some Enterprise Zones have also negotiated 'soft landing' packages with partners – to encourage new businesses into their area. These packages might include pre-agreed deals with developers, accountants, or estate agents to make it easier for businesses to establish a base there.
Currently, the United Kingdom counts 46 zones - seven of which have been granted extensions - with two currently subject to business case.

Budget, source and type of funding
National public funds20000000400000006500000080000000
Regional public funds
EU Structural funds
Private funds
Form of funding provided
Tax incentives (including reduction of social charges)
Policy learning
To what extent the measure can be considered as a success and worthy of policy learning?:
There has been a positive response by beneficiaries to the measure (e.g. over-subscribed in terms of requested versus available budget) but it is too early to judge results or impact
Evidence of outcomes based on evaluation and other evidence:

There is no evidence of a comprehensive evaluation been done, however a number of success stories have been published on the official website. There are self-reported data of the Enterprise Zones programme available, which show an changes in jobs, companies and private sector investment. These have either increased or stayed the same. This data, however, has not been validated and can be consulted here.

What are the most important “Do’s and Don’ts” that regional stakeholders should be aware of when launching a similar measure?:

Success stories give evidence that there has been a good selection of projects that were funded.

No evaluation or impact assessment is present, the self-reported data show benefits of the programme. However, this data has not been validated.

A May 2014 report by the Public Accounts Committee ("Promoting Economic Growth Locally") stated that as of December 2013, the DCLG reported 4,649 jobs (as well as 2,965 construction jobs) had been created by Enterprise Zones in England, which it describes as “particularly underwhelming” in light of initial Treasury projections of 54,000.

Would you recommend this measure as an example of regional good practice to policy-makers from other regions ?:
Organisation(s) responsible
Evaluation report(s)