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Wednesday 3 July 2024

10:00am - 13:00pm

STEAMhouse, Belmont Works, Cardigan St, Birmingham B4 7RQ

What is evaluation, why do we need it and how can it help us win new business and grow?

Using Evaluation to Empower SMEs

These and more questions related to evaluation will be explored in this course, especially devised for new and established creative businesses. Looking back at challenges, impact and processes from past work can support the future development of your creative business. This course offers a simplified and practical approach to evaluating project or business activities, providing the skills needed to generate findings, and make evidence-based decisions moving forwards.

The course covers:

• What is evaluation and why evaluate

• Types of evaluation

• Considerations for evaluation

• Developing an appropriate evaluation framework for your business

• Use of evaluation findings

Who is this course for?

This course is for sole traders, small, medium and large business owners and their teams who want to undertake evaluation activities for organisational development. Participants are not expected to have any existing research or evaluation knowledge before starting. The session focuses on sharing tangible methods of evaluating your business for winning new business or future funding.

How does the course work?

This course combines three strands of activity (and all three are recommended), providing a holistic learning experience and giving the broadest opportunity to incorporating evaluation into your business activities.

• Guided learning, for knowledge and skills (compulsory self-paced learning)

Access guided learning materials, online at any time via Earthen Lamp’s bespoke learning experience platform. This will provide the fundamental knowledge and skills, using a range of content including video, interactive activities, and quizzes. Progressing at your own pace, this is expected to last 1-2 hours.

• Collaborative learning, for embedding and perspective

The session gives the opportunity to tackle issues from the online content and revisit more complex issues, while providing the opportunity to understand the topic from various of perspectives such as peers, partners, and colleagues and by sharing your own experiences. This is followed by lunch, the opportunity to continue the discussion informally and networking.

• 1-on-1 coaching, for practice and improving (in person at STEAMhouse or online)

The course includes an optional 30 minute 1-on-1 coaching session, which brings together the learning process and provides support for adopting evaluation principles within your business activities. This can be used to support a particular project, help develop a bespoke evaluation framework, validate key points of your own learning, or reflect on your own personal experience.

What happens next?

If you book on to this seminar, you will be given access to the online platform a week before the seminar date, which includes the guided learning content, allows you to collaborate with peers and access support, and provides booking for Earthen Lamp’s coaching session. You’ll be able to return and review the materials for up to three months.

About the Facilitator

Vishalakshi Roy is an entrepreneur, business mentor and educator. She is Director of research-led strategic consultancy Earthen Lamp, and Assistant Professor at the Centre for Cultural and Media Policy Studies at the University of Warwick. For 20 years she has led research and evaluation activities across creative, cultural and heritage sectors, delivering over 400 projects. Vishalakshi has a PhD in Entrepreneurship from Warwick Business School and is a foundation fellow and evaluation chair for the Warwick Institute of Engagement.

Earthen Lamp exists to bring bright thinking to cultural and heritage organisations and creative businesses. What sets us apart is our straight-talking approach, our experience, and attitude to tackle any challenge with gusto. We believe that simple ideas and solutions can light up the darkest corners and solve complex issues. Our training gives people and businesses to the foundations to make their own solutions, providing relevant content in a simple yet effective format to help drive understanding.

*Please note numbers are limited so preference will be given to STEAMhouse Members in the first instance.


STEAMhouse Forward is fully-funded by the UK government through the UKSPF (UK Shared Prosperity Fund) supporting Birmingham & Solihull businesses to innovate, collaborate and grow.  The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local initiatives by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit Application forms are now open to all Birmingham and Solihull businesses to innovation, collaborate and grow via this link


Birmingham City University’s (BCU) STEAMhouse also proudly offers funded memberships to local digital SMEs through the Barclays Eagle Labs Ecosystem Partnership Programme called Digital Direction. This collaboration aims to fuel growth and innovation within the region for digital industry by providing exclusive access to resources, events, and mentoring opportunities.

Successful applicants gain entry to STEAMhouse’s Digital Labs, equipped with cutting-edge technology and business and industry mentors to facilitate hands-on experimentation and skill development. Supported by Barclays Eagle Labs, the Digital Direction initiative fosters a collaborative environment, driving digital innovation and creating valuable opportunities for local entrepreneurs and graduates. Find out about applying for Digital Direction via this link