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ATI ERDF Summative Assessment Findings & Insights

4 March 2020

Like all projects supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), ATI is subject to undergo an independent evaluation to assess the overall impact of our business innovation support and services in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (April 2017 – March 2020).

Almost 40% of ATI’s clients completed the survey and phone call interviews conducted by S4W, who provide specialist research and intelligence analysis for summative assessments, which is a fantastic response rate and we would like to thank all our clients who kindly took the time to participate.

Below, we have provided a summary of ATI’S ERDF Summative Assessment.

 

Key Findings & Insights:

The Facts & Figures

At the time the summative assessment took place (Dec. 2019), and with 3 months of the project still remaining, ATI had engaged 565 businesses, worked intensively on 145 innovation projects, delivered 3,626 hours of support, awarded 48 innovation grants and supported projects to the total value of £1.2M.

 

Most Significant Impacts

The most significant impacts for businesses has been on ‘Innovation Readiness’ (which was one of the key objectives for the ATI project), with over 80% of businesses taking part in the survey claiming the project had a positive or very positive impact. ‘Investment Readiness’, whereby just under 80% of respondents reported that ATI had a positive or very positive impact, closely followed this.

“Since the ATI Masterclass we have formed an innovation team to look at a number of processes within the business” – Skinner’s Brewery

 

Driving Economic Growth

41% of businesses supported by ATI cited an increase in turnover, with 10% claiming a significant increase. What’s more, 40% of businesses stated that their involvement with the project stimulated significant growth and a further 48% said that their involvement with ATI had some form of impact on innovation and growth within their business.

“Our organisation has really benefitted from working with ATI. It’s made a huge difference to our bottom line, but it’s also made us more efficient in what we do and how we utilise our staff and our processes”, said James Chapman, Managing Director at Chapman Machinery.

Although increases in employment were not a key output for ATI, the project has also created a net increase of 53 jobs within supported businesses.

 

Outreach and Engagement

Interestingly, 40% of businesses supported had not previously received any de minimis aid, suggesting ATI has managed to engaged businesses in those harder to reach areas of Cornwall. This bucks the trend and is significantly higher when compared with other ERDF projects. It is thought to be due to outreach activities such as the Pop-up Innovation Centres, and an intensive events programme within each of the key towns where the pop-ups were located.

 

Connecting Businesses with Expertise and Support

87% of business working with ATI stated they felt it had made them more aware of the range of services available from the University of Plymouth, with a further 30% of businesses accessing University facilities and academic support.

Avril Sainsbury, Co-founder of the Cleaner Seas Group, explains:

“Through the Growth Hub and ATI, Cleaner Seas Group were introduced to Marine-i which has been a gamechanger for us, unlocking access to the world class research support available through the University of Plymouth. This is helping us bring our product to market far more quickly than would otherwise have been possible.

“Collaboration is key and we’re grateful to have had the support of ATI, the University of Plymouth and Marine-I”, she adds.

The Pop-up Innovation Centres were designed to be collaborative hubs and the ATI team have proactively worked to engage and host our partner organisations, thereby extending the range of business support and services available from each pop-up location. Thus far, the Pop-up Innovation Centres have accommodated 44 partner event bookings, enabling a joined-up approach to business support in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

“The Bude Pop-up provides a meeting space which allows support programmes, like CIOSIF, to connect with businesses in rural areas that we haven’t previously had access to”, said Brent Treloar, Business Development Manager, FSE Group (fund managers of CIOSIF).

 

Quality of Support & Services

All elements of ATI’s suite of support and services scored in excess of four out of five for the quality of delivery across the project.

Highest scores included:

  • Support from our Business Innovation Advisors (4.58)
  • ATI’s events programme (4.31)
  • Engagement with the University via the Innovation Champion (4.21)

 

“Every time I have made contact with ATI, I have been given invaluable advice, guidance and support – My Business Innovation Advisor really does think outside the box”, said Sarah Cudmore, Founder of Homegrown Learning.

 

Value for Money

Against Regeneris ERDF benchmark costs, the ATI project offers very good value for money for the number of businesses it has engaged (565), the development of new products and services (55), and the number of jobs (53) it has created.

 

“Invaluable programme and definitely one of the more effective and progressive funded operations in Cornwall”, says Greg Welch, Managing Director of Gendall Design and Co-Founder of Chatter Voice Labs.

 

If you have any questions in relation to this summative assessment, please email ati@plymouth.ac.uk.

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