Belmana led the counterfactual impact evaluation (CIE) for the Welsh Government’s evaluation of non-financial support for businesses funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered through the 2014 to 2020 European Structural Funds Programmes. The study was led by Wavehill Ltd and Winning Moves conducted surveys.

The study looked at the effectiveness of non-financial ERDF Support for Businesses with a particular focus on two priority axes (PAs) within the ERDF Operational Programmes of West Wales and the Valleys and East Wales, PA1:  Research and Innovation, and PA2: Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) Competitiveness. It also consideerd the extent to which supported businesses received advice or support in relation to Cross cutting Themes (CCTs) and whether the programme provided opportunities to promote the Welsh language or contribute to the goals of the Well-being of Future Generations Act.

The CIE was conducted as part of the evaluation to explore firm-level employment and turnover impacts amongst participant businesses registered with Companies House and for value-added tax (VAT) or pay as you earn (PAYE). Moreover, the CIE explored the fundraising of businesses (which provides an indication of business growth orientation, as well as being a proxy for innovation) and the average wages of  participant businesses (as an indicator of the quality of employment).

European Regional Development Fund business support in Wales: Evaluation final report