Data gathered on small trade and service businesses that participated in a coaching project initiated by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor in Israel was used to assess the effect of public assistance programs on small businesses' performance. A multi-dimensional framework was developed and used for assessing performance of these organisations, using two models; a direct model (path analysis) and a Structural Equation Model (SEM). The public assistance program modus operandi was measured by five dimensions, specifying three entities of the program: the program (qualitative elements such as the consultant's capabilities and quantitative elements such as range of activities covered by the assistance program), the client (i.e. firm) and the program-client interaction. Except for one dimension (client implementation), all other four dimensions had a significant effect on business performance. According to the SEM model, the significant effect on performance was mainly due to the quantitative elements of the program.