Honey Pots & Hives: Maximising the
potential of rural enterprise hubs
Dr Paul Cowie
Rural Enterprise Support Workshop
Ente...
• The CRE/RGN partnership
• One of five UK Government pilot programs
funded from 2012 -2015 to pilot new ways to
overcome ...
• Building on the rural economy knowledge base
already out there:
– Dominated by atomised microbusinesses
– Significantly ...
• Overview of hubs
– There is a mix ownership: 50% private (most large estates); 33% not-
for-profit; 17% local authority
...
• Hubs are spread
thinly across the
region
• Most are focused on
accessible rural
locations
• However this is not a
comple...
• Building a typology:
• Two dimensions to
differentiate hubs:
– X–axis relates to the
provision of services and
support –...
• The stakeholder engagement with hub owners/managers
revealed a number of issues:
– Hubs are businesses in their own righ...
• Hub Occupiers
• General statistics
– Younger businesses in
hubs than general pop.
– Average FT employees =
4.9 (4.5 in R...
• Customers
– More likely to be B2B
than B2C
– More likely to serve a
market which is
regional or national
than general ru...
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
120%
Factors influencing move to hub
Of no
relevence
Not
relevant
No opinion
Relevent
Very
relevan...
• This seems to suggest a two
stage process. Possibly a
transition.
• 58% of businesses in hubs
had moved there from home....
• The final chart shows the
networking activity
currently taking place in
the hubs.
• Again in contrast to
expressed wishe...
• RGN has supported the development or
improvement of 5 hubs in the first round
and [ ] in the second round
• Strong deman...
• Conclusion
• Need to take into account the differences between hubs i.e. the Hub
Typology and the nature of the hub occu...
• Thank you
• The full report can be found at:
http://www.ncl.ac.uk/cre/publish/researchreports/Honey%20Pots%20and%20Hives...
Business Premises: Honey Pots & Hives- Maximizing the potential of rural enterprise hubs - Dr Paul Cowie, Research Associa...
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Business Premises: Honey Pots & Hives- Maximizing the potential of rural enterprise hubs - Dr Paul Cowie, Research Associate, Centre for Rural Economy, Newcastle University

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Business Premises: Honey Pots & Hives- Maximizing the potential of rural enterprise hubs - Dr Paul Cowie, Research Associate, Centre for Rural Economy, Newcastle University

  1. 1. Honey Pots & Hives: Maximising the potential of rural enterprise hubs Dr Paul Cowie Rural Enterprise Support Workshop Enterprise Research Centre 27th February 2014
  2. 2. • The CRE/RGN partnership • One of five UK Government pilot programs funded from 2012 -2015 to pilot new ways to overcome barriers to economic growth in rural areas • NE RGN theme was ‘rural enterprise hubs’ • Part of the CRE research project was to establish what a rural enterprise hub was and what it should do.
  3. 3. • Building on the rural economy knowledge base already out there: – Dominated by atomised microbusinesses – Significantly higher levels of home-based businesses – Difficulty in gaining access to extra-local markets and networks – Overcoming dominant preconceptions of rural businesses: lifestyle businesses, low-tech and no- growth. • How do rural enterprise hubs fit into this picture?
  4. 4. • Overview of hubs – There is a mix ownership: 50% private (most large estates); 33% not- for-profit; 17% local authority – Smallest hub (Amble 4ways) 7 units – Largest (Berwick Incubator) 35 units – Range of units from 9m2 to 473m2 – Not as much physical flexibility as expected – only 2 were able to adjust the size of units and mainly by letting two adjacent units – Not much flexibility in relation to tenure. Only 1 allowed subletting/sharing and 2 worked on ‘easy in, easy out terms’ – Fear of unknown and lack of legal capacity to accommodate flexible arrangements – They are under financial pressure: higher overheads, more empty units and longer re-let times. – Significant amounts of cross-subsidy within property portfolios
  5. 5. • Hubs are spread thinly across the region • Most are focused on accessible rural locations • However this is not a complete picture
  6. 6. • Building a typology: • Two dimensions to differentiate hubs: – X–axis relates to the provision of services and support – traditional incubator differentiation – Y-axis relates to nature of hub: honeypot or hive – the rural dimension. • Gives 4 broad typologies of hubs A destination hub which is only lightly managed A destination hub which wide ranging / intensive support’ A hub with mainly B2B occupiers which is only lightly managed A hub with mainly B2B occupiers with wide ranging / intensive support’
  7. 7. • The stakeholder engagement with hub owners/managers revealed a number of issues: – Hubs are businesses in their own right. – They feel as isolated and disconnected as the businesses the host. – Most have little or no experience of managing this type of premises. – They needed to be networked as much as the businesses within them. • The NE Hub network has now been founded. – Links rural and urban hubs in the NE – Shares best practice – Helps business move to grow-on space. – Still finding its feet and developing
  8. 8. • Hub Occupiers • General statistics – Younger businesses in hubs than general pop. – Average FT employees = 4.9 (4.5 in RBS) – Average PT employees =1 (2 in RBS) Rural Business Survey (2009) Hub Occupier Survey (2013) 0 - 2 years 8% 41% Over 2 - 5 years 16% 6% Over 5 - 10 years 20% 29% Over 10 - 20 years 20% 12% Over 20 - 50 years 25% 12% Over 50 years 11% 0%
  9. 9. • Customers – More likely to be B2B than B2C – More likely to serve a market which is regional or national than general rural business pop.
  10. 10. 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 120% Factors influencing move to hub Of no relevence Not relevant No opinion Relevent Very relevant 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 120% Barriers to growth - Hub Occupier Survey Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly Agree
  11. 11. • This seems to suggest a two stage process. Possibly a transition. • 58% of businesses in hubs had moved there from home. • This suggested rent and flexible letting terms can be used to help ease the transition to a more commercial business outlook. • Later support can be included to foster collaboration once they are settled in the hub.
  12. 12. • The final chart shows the networking activity currently taking place in the hubs. • Again in contrast to expressed wishes very little collaboration taking place. • Lots of informal networking but not clear what added value this brings 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 120% Networking Activity within hubs Daily Weekly Monthly Less than Once a month Never
  13. 13. • RGN has supported the development or improvement of 5 hubs in the first round and [ ] in the second round • Strong demand for space in the new hubs, a number were filled by word of mouth. • In one case the return of a home-based business started locally now international • Still much to do in terms of networks and support
  14. 14. • Conclusion • Need to take into account the differences between hubs i.e. the Hub Typology and the nature of the hub occupiers. • Hubs seem to offer an affective bridge between early stage/home based businesses and a more commercial mature enterprise: – This offers opportunities for the hub to create a wider network of home-based businesses as a pool of potential occupiers – Offers opportunities to deliver targeted businesses support to these businesses. This could be both hard (business skills) and soft (mentoring) – A two stage approach may be needed. Concentrate on the bottom line issues, rent and tenure, and later develop the other elements, networking and collaboration • Hubs are businesses themselves, they need to network and collaborate just as much as the businesses they support.
  15. 15. • Thank you • The full report can be found at: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/cre/publish/researchreports/Honey%20Pots%20and%20HivesFINAL .pdf

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