Small and Medium Enterprise Research Centre
The Small and Medium Enterprise Research Centre (SMERC) was established in 1995 at ECU with the aim of promoting and encouraging research into small and medium sized businesses.
SMERC is based within the School of Management at Edith Cowan University's Joondalup Campus. The Centre is recognised nationally and internationally for research in the small and medium enterprise domain which produces outcomes of significant value to academe and practice. SMERC has developed strong links with industry, the business community and all three tiers of government through support, participation and facilitation of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) activities.
- To disseminate relevant research to the small business and academic communities through publications, seminars and teaching.
- To raise the SME profile in the academic, professional and practitioner communities.
- To engage with the local community and develop on-going relationships and research partnerships.
SMERC's areas of research and expertise
SMERC is engaged in research and program delivery in SME.
The Centre draws on the diverse skills and experience of its own staff plus staff from across the University, and collaborates with other institutions and organisations in strategic partnerships.
There are two million SMEs in Australia, accounting for 96 per cent of all businesses. Understanding SMEs better through research is therefore vital to the nation's economic health.
Research carried out by SMERC not only provides valuable data, but delivers community engagement and applied outcomes.
Research projects completed by SMERC and its partners include:
- Human Resource Training (HRT) for Small Business Program. SMERC research uncovered a demand for a practical and flexible HR training package aimed at the small business owner. SMERC now works in partnership with local government and business organisations to deliver this program to SMEs across the Perth metropolitan area and in regional Western Australia.
- A survey of home-based businesses in the City of Swan. Its aim was to determine how best to develop and encourage these businesses as they account for 67 per cent of all small businesses in the area.
- An investigation into the training needs of older business owners. One employment option for older workers is self-employment yet the research shows many older small business operators lack vital business skills.
- A review of the Malaga Business District. It identified the difficulties and opportunities that exist for Malaga businesses, 84 per cent of which are SMEs.
- Research into the appropriateness of delivering training on-line to small business operators. The Vocation and Education Training sector (VET) is moving towards more on-line training delivery. The research explored how effectively small business operators engage with this form of delivery.
- Environmental management and behaviour change practices within SMEs with various local, State, Federal government and industry partners. These projects are effective in reducing the environmental impact of SMEs and providing a broader understanding of the issues relating to improving their environmental performance and behaviour.
- A survey of businesses within the City of Joondalup that identified current issues, opportunities and threats in the business environment.
SMERC is self-funded. It works closely with all tiers of government and private enterprise to generate the income required to conduct applied research. Recent research grants have come from the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, AusIndustry, the West Australian Department of Education and Training, the West Australian Small Business Development Corporation, West Coast Institute of Training, the Cities of Swan, Joondalup, Wanneroo, Gosnells and Armadale.