Identifying the factors that influence Irish high-tech enterprises to choose one regional location over other Irish regions

Hall, Denise (2007) Identifying the factors that influence Irish high-tech enterprises to choose one regional location over other Irish regions. Masters thesis, Waterford Institute of Technology.

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Abstract

The purpose of this current study is to identify the regional factors that influence the location choice of high-tech enterprises, establish the reasons why existing high-tech companies set up their enterprises where they do and to determine what factors would influence an entrepreneur/owner manager to move from their original set-up location. For the purposes of this research, the methodology employed used a quantitative method, underpinned by a positivist research philosophy. Quantitative research was used to gather data and information relating to the factors that influence the location choice of high technology businesses. This method was employed using an online survey. From a sample of 300 enterprises, 134 were selected for this research. These 134 enterprises were selected as they met all aspects of the research criteria. They all operated in the high-tech industry, were wholly-owned Irish enterprises based in Ireland, non-subsidiary and were founded between 2002 and 2005. The result was 86 replies yielding a response rate of 64%. The information gathered included general information about the respondents’ businesses, the factors that influence the location choice of high-tech enterprises and the factors that prevent them from locating in a region. In addition, the perceptions of high-tech enterprises regarding Ireland’s South East region as a location choice were also obtained. A number of key findings materialised from this study. Firstly, it was found that the largest sector in Ireland is the software development industry (54%) and that the majority of respondents are located in the Dublin region (47%). It was also discovered that aspects of the founder’s background influenced the choice of location for the businesses. Furthermore, the current research findings showed that most founders set up in a location well-known to them and they had either set up where they lived in their youth (23%) or in a locality where they worked prior to starting their own business (23%). In relation to this finding, many founders had deep-seated attachments to family and friends or owned a house in the vicinity (32%) and these acted as factors influencing the businesses to remain in their current location. Additional findings show that the availability of skilled labour, transport infrastructure, telecommunications infrastructure, airport access and the costs of running the business are very important factors to the founders when deciding where to locate their businesses. Interestingly, the findings show that factors discussed in the literature review such as proximity to educational facilities were deemed to be insignificant by the respondents (41%). This is contrary to researchers such as Saxenian (1985), Scott (1988) and Holstein (1992), who highlighted the importance of educational institutions. With regard to locating the businesses in the South-East region of Ireland, the majority of the respondents said they would not choose to locate in the region (77%). The main reason stated for this is the lack of available skilled labour (50%). The transport infrastructure in the region was considered inadequate, as was the lack of an international airport. Moreover, the respondents rated the region as bad in relation to customer proximity. On the other hand, the majority of the respondents rated the South-East region as excellent as regards its attractiveness (23%). From the beginning, this current study’s aim was to identify the regional factors that influence the location choice of high-tech enterprises, establish the reasons why existing high-tech companies set up their enterprises where they are and to determine what factors would influence an entrepreneur/owner manager to move from their original set-up location. Therefore, this current research contributes to the expanding literature on high technology enterprises and their location choice and, in particular, to regional development, entrepreneurial regions and enterprise development. The research findings from this current study indicate that there are a number of specific factors which determine why high-technology firms choose to locate where they do and also that there are recurring factors, which prevent them from choosing specific locations. Additionally, this research also has implications for policy makers, entrepreneurs and academics.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Departments or Groups: Centre for Enterprise Development & Regional Economy
Divisions: School of Business
Depositing User: e- Thesis
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2008 20:24
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2016 10:25
URI: http://repository.wit.ie/id/eprint/913

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