To address the issue of the low take-up of available ethnic business support, the article proposes the composition of a database for Scotland, thereby providing baseline data on minority businesses and hence providing a sampling frame for future research. The database will hold the following information: name and gender of the business owner, sector, location, number of employees as an indicator of company size, generation, the year in which the business was established, as well as the legal form of ownership of businesses.
The database draws from the concept of mixed embeddedness as well as the political agenda of the Scottish Executive for the sector. Data sources used are commercial databases, the Yellow Pages of Scotland, local business registers across Scotland, a telephone survey and personal contact / networking with businesses.
By proposing a methodology for composing the database, the article tackles a long-standing issue in the area of ethnic business research. It is hoped that the database will improve understanding among policy makers and support organisations, in terms of the particular needs of individual businesses. Consequently, the better understanding should account for a more tailored and more attractive support, which, in turn, improves the take-up of existing mechanisms.
Though 100% coverage of minority businesses in Scotland is a desired target, complete coverage may not be achievable. Some business might simply not be interested in participating in the research and cannot, therefore, be included in the database despite the multi-facet methodology applied.