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Title: What makes a successful SME in a rural location?
Author: O'Brien, S. P.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6059 3223
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2016
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The study seeks to examine the different elements that contribute to the success of rural small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with an emphasis on firms in the North West of England. There has been growing literature to highlight the importance that SMEs have on the economy (BIS, 2015; Glover, 2012) alongside government initiatives to promote the expansion of rural firms (Love and Roper, 2015; Lord Young, 2013). The ability for SMEs to drive the economy and contribute to wealth creation is one of the many reasons why there has been increasing focus in the area of entrepreneurship and small business management. This research intends to explore and uncover the key issues and elements that enable and affect success in rural SMEs. Examining current literature around SME success revealed a number of factors that were prevalent such as firm growth, longevity, size and innovation. In addition to this, the position of the entrepreneur and their ability to affect success has also examined. These considerations were incorporated into a conceptual framework which aided in the development of the data collection instrument. The study applied a quantitative methodological approach utilising structured questionnaires in the data collection process. An accurate sampling frame of rural SMEs in the North West of England was drawn from the FAME database, where random sampling methods were then applied. Analysis of perceptual data revealed that the issues of growth, longevity, innovation and the entrepreneur are key factors that affect rural SME success. Ultimately, the study contributes to current knowledge by indicating vital areas for consideration in drive towards rural SME success, suggesting that focus should be placed upon SME size, longevity and innovation. Certain characteristics of the entrepreneur such as being from the local area and having parents that had previously owned a business were also found to be linked to rural SME success. Similarly, the research also suggests that financial measures of success should not be considered in singularity but rather in tandem with the direction of the firm. These conclusions provide some vital areas of consideration for rural SMEs as well as signposts where government initiatives and policies could be improved to facilitate their growth.
Supervisor: Giorgioni, G. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral