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Evaluation of Ayrshire Innovation Centre


The Ayrshire Innovation Centre (AIC) was established in 1995 to meet the needs of high growth start-up businesses through the provision of accommodation (subsidised during early months of trading), tailored business development support, and office/administration services. The AIC has a total of 11 incubator sites that are available to let on flexible terms, and four second generation suites available on an annual let basis. The AIC also provides a wide range of business support and houses Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire’s E-business Demonstration Centre, which provides guidance on e-commerce and technology issues. The evaluation assesses the extent to which the project’s objectives have been met and considers the economic and other impacts that the AIC has had on tenant companies.


The evaluation involved an initial inception meeting followed by desk-based research. There was also a programme of fieldwork, which involved interviews and consultation. An analysis of the economic impact of the AIC was also conducted.


It is found that the project has successfully met its main objectives and targets, such as the number of companies per annum to be accommodated, supporting the retention of companies and the development of the AIC as a credible business location. The objectives are still mostly considered to be relevant to the development of AIC. However, the evaluation also found that whilst year on year costs are decreasing, the AIC is operating at a loss each year. Despite this, the centre was found to have had a positive effect on 6 out of 10 of the businesses involved.


A number of options for the future of the AIC are set out. Suggests that either Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire withdraws from the AIC, the AIC is developed to accommodate wider second stage high growth business expansion, or that alterations are made to the current operating model of the AIC. It is recommended that the best option is Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire’s withdrawal from the scheme and that the AIC is sold to the private sector and maintained as a serviced business centre.

Author EKOS Limited
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    High growth entrepreneurship