Research Focus Area 1: Business Innovation and Growth
Business innovation and growth is an essential consideration for the development of the Western BACE. The identification and collection of information from current businesses (and potential businesses planning to utilise Western BACE) will significantly inform the potential value and utilisation of the Western BACE, both as a hub and incubator for new and existing businesses in the region. This knowledge will also ensure that the Western BACE engages with, and is sustained by, local businesses in the region. Such mutual support will further generate business diversity and employment opportunities and growth for Western Melbourne.
Research undertaken concurrently during the planning and design and construction (with particular focus between May 2013 and end June 2014) stages was essential to building an understanding of the enablers for business innovation and growth at the Western BACE and surrounding region. Learnings from the research also informed the planning and design of the Western BACE through the identification of the potential for business innovation and growth in Melton and surrounding regions in coming years.
Current literature and best practice pertaining to successful innovation and growth for business accelerator sites (and similar developments) were identified and reviewed by the researchers. Collection of literature and benchmarking data was essential in the first 12 – 14 months of this project to provide a snapshot of business activity in Melton. This foundation information for the planning and design and construction of the Western BACE will inform futures stages of research to July 2015.
The researchers reviewed current literature, identified best practice businesses accelerators and completed a ‘business activity’ assessment for the Melton region (using available statistics from national, state and regional sources).
The researchers also sourced benchmark data from business owners and entrepreneurs in the Melton Region. Specific research questions addressed included:
a. What can be learnt from similar business accelerators and incubators nationally and internationally? How have business accelerators successfully engaged local businesses and the local community (and vice versa) during planning, construction and operation?
b. What is the current environment for business innovation and growth in the City of Melton? Across Victoria?
c. What is the current status of the priority sectors for the Western BACE including construction, retail, and information technology and community services?
d. What are the ‘business’ expectations of potential anchor and accelerator tenants for the site (data sourcing would include examination of business demographics; business needs for relocation; influence of the NBN on potential decisions making; expectations of business growth that would be anticipated by the Western BACE).