Communities of Enterprise: Future Strategies for the Business Enterprise Centres Network of Western Australia

TitleCommunities of Enterprise: Future Strategies for the Business Enterprise Centres Network of Western Australia
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2003
Tertiary AuthorsMazzarol, T, van Heemst, N, Barnes, JA
Corporate AuthorsBarry Smith, Philip Watson
PublisherCentre for Entrepreneurial Management and Innovation (CEMI)
TypeIndustry Research Report
KeywordsBusiness Enterprise Centres, Small Business, WA

Established in the 1980s, the WA Business Enterprise Centre (BEC) Network is today one of the largest and geographically dispersed small business advisory and support services in the world. This BEC Network comprises 37 independent; community owned organisations located throughout the State, that provide a range of counselling, information and referral services to small business clients and new venture start-ups. The WA Government, under the BEC Network Scheme, which is managed by the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC), sponsors these organisations. Each of the BEC organisations within the network operates as an incorporated, non-profit agency managed by a volunteer committee which employ a full time Centre Manager who usually provides the enterprise facilitation services to the community. An administrative assistant and other support staff will be employed where the BEC organisation has sufficient financial resources. Funded by the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) of WA, this review involved consultations with all 37 BEC plus a wide cross-section of stakeholders, as well as receipt of a large number of public submissions. The future that the review team outlined for the BEC Network was one in which the centres are substantially more entrepreneurial and independent of State Government funding than is currently the case. This would see the centres delivering a common core service focusing on direct assistance to small business owner-managers and start up ventures through quality enterprise facilitation. This would be undertaken under the BEC brand name, but with a much greater level of consistency and accountability than is currently evident. A more prominent role was identified for the BECWA peak representative body for the network. Strategic planning would take place within the six BECWA regional zones. Manager / Facilitators delivering the core enterprise facilitation service would be trained and accredited to a common standard. Further, the services they provide would be more clearly benchmarked and measured to ensure quality is maintained across the Network. In addition to the provision of core enterprise facilitation, the BEC Network would be more adequately integrated into the industry, economic and regional development processes of the State.

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