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Western Business Accelerator and Centre of Excellence

Commencing operation in May 2015, the Western Business Accelerator and Centre for Excellence (Western BACE) is a multifunction facility, built with the aim of fostering business, education and innovation in Melbourne’s West.

CeRDI participates in the Western BACE Research Group, together with FedUni, Victoria University and Melton City Council, which was established in 2013 to undertake research, monitoring and evaluation activities in parallel with the planning, design, construction and operating phases of the Western BACE.

Background

The Western Business Accelerator and Centre for Excellence (Western BACE), located at Melton, Victoria, is an initiative to enhance long term employment and community opportunities for residents living in one of Australia’s major growth corridors.

The Western BACE has the primary role of being the hub of enterprise, community activity and business development for Melbourne’s West. It fosters business, education and innovation.

Commencing operation in May 2015, the Western BACE was established by the City of Melton, together with Lend Lease, the Growth Areas Authority, Victoria University, Kangan Institute, Burbank Homes and FedUni, with funding from the Commonwealth Government Department of Environment’s Suburban Jobs Program. 

The Western BACE is designed to accommodate an innovative, multifunction centre offering a range of business accelerator activities through:

  • Accelerator office and workspaces to support fledgling businesses;
  • Business support and development through the Centre for Excellence;
  • Training and training spaces for tenant businesses, social services, local education providers; and
  • Construction of an environmentally sustainable building.

The longer-term aim of the initiative is to improve economic, educational and community opportunities for Melton and the west Melbourne growth corridor.

The Western BACE Research Group comprising FedUni, Victoria University and Melton City Council was established in 2013 to undertake research, monitoring and evaluation activities in parallel with the planning, design, construction and operating phases of the Western BACE.

Research has been undertaken across each of the three development phases of the Western BACE (planning and design, construction and operation).

The findings provide initial insights into tenant experiences in incubators and accelerators.

During 2015 the research program included an examination of the role of Western BACE project partners.

A case study to gain insights from new tenants at the Western BACE was completed in early 2016.

Longitudinal research in association with the Western BACE has been established through an agreement between CeRDI, FedUni and Melton City Council.

Outcomes

The most recent CeRDI research, led by CeRDI Research Fellow Alison Ollerenshaw, involved interviews with Western BACE tenants to gauge their motivations, impressions and expectations of the program.

The findings highlighted the diversity of experience of this first cohort of tenants at Western BACE.

The breadth of their collective experiences indicates a strong connection between tenants and the business accelerator program which is closely aligned to expectations for their business and anticipated business growth. Complementing this is the support they have received since commencing in the program.

An industry-based PhD scholarship for research linked with the Western BACE commenced in mid-2016 - The Relationship Between Business Incubator Services and the Psychological Capital of Tenants.

Future Directions

Longer-term research examining the important insights about the experience of being a tenant at the Western BACE is currently underway.

PhD research is being undertaken to examine the relationship between business incubator services and the psychological capital of tenants. This study has an international focus. The research is supported by industry partner Melton City Council and the Western BACE - The Relationship Between Business Incubator Services and the Psychological Capital of Tenants.

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    RESEARCH OUTPUT

    Publications

    Ollerenshaw, A., Murphy, A. and McDonald K (2017) Leading the way: the integral role of local government within a multi-sector partnership delivering a large infrastructure project in an Australian growth region. Local Government Studies, 43(2), 291–314. doi.org/10.1080/03003930.2016.1274259

    Ollerenshaw, A. and Murphy, A. Professional support and ideas creation: the importance and facilitation of networking amongst a cohort of entry-level tenants within a newly established business incubator. Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (under review).

    Reports

    Ollerenshaw, A., Murphy, A. and Thompson, H. (2016) Tenancy Research Report: Documenting the initial experiences of tenants in the Business Accelerator Program at the Western BACE. Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation. Federation University Australia.

    Ollerenshaw, A., Murphy, A., McDonald K and Thompson, H. (2015) Western BACE Partnership Research Report 2015. Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation. Federation University Australia.

    Ollerenshaw, A., Thompson, H. and McDonald, K. (2015) Western BACE Community Survey: Research Report 2015, Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation. Federation University Australia.

    Ollerenshaw, A., Thompson, H. and McDonald, K. (2015) Western BACE Research, Monitoring and Evaluation: Business Innovation Survey Report 2015. Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation. Federation University Australia.

    McDonald K, Ollerenshaw, A. and Thompson, H. (2014) Western BACE Review of Regional Demographics. Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation. Federation University Australia.

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