While policies in support of social and commercial entrepreneurship are widely used to foster economic growth and increase prosperity, little is known about the effectiveness of various interventions. Despite the diversity of approaches, some places remain more conducive to developing entrepreneurship than others. Scotland is an interesting context in which to study entrepreneurial support and particularly business support to social enterprises. Despite the wealth of support available in this country, practitioners still face numerous challenges at various stages of entrepreneurial development. Drawing on the analysis of qualitative data emerging from a study exploring social enterprise practitioners’ views on business support provision, and considering pre-start-up, start-up and established stages of social enterprise development, this paper shows that, currently, support is poorly-coordinated, inadequate and sometimes repetitive. Our study reveals conflict between service providers and a mismatch between social enterprise policy aspirations and practical implementation. We conclude that the implementation of social enterprise policies lacks a holistic approach and is based on ad-hoc support, making it inefficient and wasteful. Finally, we highlight that the amount of business support provided does not equate to effectiveness and call for ongoing scrutiny and monitoring of policy implementation.
- Business support
- Entrepreneurial policy effectiveness
- Policy implementation
- Practitioners’ perspective
- Social enterprise