Programmes providing services for small and medium enterprises are important in developed and developing countries alike. Yet, the quality and impact of many of these programmes continues to be relatively disappointing. In this paper we analyse the performance and functioning of the Small Business Service in the UK, and the Business Development Services support model that has been commonly adopted in less developed countries. Modem theories of innovation and services marketing management serve as our analytical lens. Important weaknesses in programme structure and implementation practices emerge, which mainly revolve around user-producer interaction, organisational issues, and the lack of a broad systems perspective.
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