International Journal of Applied Entrepreneurship (ISSN: 1742-5824) Volume 1 Issue 2
Welsh Enterprise Institute, University of Glamorgan Business School
The study of business and incubator premises in Wales has been conducted at a time of considerable change and development. Start-ups often have access to financial assistance which could have a significant impact on the sustainability and growth of the business. Primary research undertaken by the Cyfenter Development Partnership identified premises as an issue which impacted on start-up, sustainability and growth. The findings regarding the purpose of incubators showed that more than half were concerned with two main areas of activity which were to provide a means for SME start-ups and service and manufacturing sectors. Two main types of support services provided by the incubators were training and mentoring. This contrasted with the key services identified by ‘incubees' which had a critical impact on establishing their business. Regarding the diversity of the tenants this showed that all under-represented groups except refugees were active at the incubators with the highest represented group being women followed by young people and the over fifties. Two case studies of good practice in England and Wales are provided which are based on different models – the property model and the hotdesking model. With the property model elements of good practice include hub champions, a knowledge base, the properties, enterprise gateways and hub directors. For the hotdesking model good practice involves twenty-four/seven accessibility, open plan layout and access to state of the art multimedia equipment and reception facilities.
One of the salient features of the survey method was that it offered greater possibility for replication and could be used to provide a cyclical picture of the business and incubator premises available throughout Wales thus lending itself to becoming a longitudinal study. It is possible that the terminology of the incubator is a term that may not necessarily be recognised by some business premise providers despite their provision coming very close to that of a business incubator. The perception of incubator like provision may actually be distorted. This could be overcome by field work which would also enable information available from the current providers to be standardised. There may be business support premises that are underused that have the potential to be developed. An important outcome of the findings of the research will be to inform future developments by identifying needs.