Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business (Research)


Institute of Technology Tralee

First Advisor

Ann Sears


This project seeks to understand and measure the levels of Research and Development (R&D) and Networking Activity amongst regional business in the South West of Ireland. The South West region of Ireland is a unique and beautiful place, but presents challenges and obstacles in terms of running a business within the region.

It is now generally accepted by policy-makers that Ireland is going to become increasingly dependent upon its indigenous businesses, most of which can be classified as Small-to- Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The question of R&D and networking was framed within the context of location, given the physical characteristics of the southwest as a business location.

Having formulated the research question and set down the research objectives and hypotheses the researcher undertook a literature review. This literature review encompassed current international, European and Irish academic writings, along with the many government-sponsored and international reports available to the researcher. The researcher opted for triangulation of data, which was achieved through carrying out eight in-depth interviews throughout the region, followed by a wider postal survey to the relevant population and finally the above-mentioned literature review.

Results, following tabulation of data through SPSS software, revealed that (a) location does affect networking activity, and (b) business-size is also a factor in relation to R&D activity. Findings reveal that many SME owner/managers are unaware of R&D grant-aid and the benefits of networking. Business networking has great potential in the South West but at present this is not being realised.

In the final analysis, this research makes it clear that location and physical infrastructure are impediments to doing business, but, depending on the individual concerned, are certainly not insurmountable obstacles in relation to doing business throughout the region.

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