The Small Business Centre West Pilbara and Complete Community Solutions Strategic have named Karratha the ideal location for the first West Pilbara Business Park.
A nine-month feasibility study and consultation period, carried out by the organisations, revealed the ratio of businesses to residents in Karratha has fallen more than 50 per cent short of the state’s average, highlighting a need to develop the town’s business sector.
The proposed “business incubator” facility would provide opportunities for business growth and economic diversity in the region.
By providing a central location for new or small businesses to operate, along with professional guidance and shared services, business incubators have been touted as an effective way of creating jobs and stimulating economic activity.
The research, conducted by the business centre and CCS Strategic, estimated the Karratha incubator to return more than $200 million and create more than 460 jobs in the facility’s first decade of operation.
Karratha and Districts Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive John Lally said the business park model has proven itself worldwide, so there was no reason not to expect the incubator to work in Karratha. Mr Lally said the park would be a great asset to the community and would facilitate the growth of small businesses facing high operation costs.
The study, carried out by the business centre and CCS Strategic, identified a need for a wider range of retail and industrial services if local communities were to be sustained. Consultations with current and prospective business owners identified inflated premises costs and a lack of affordable accommodation as the most significant barriers to conducting business in the Pilbara.
To address the issue, the proposed park would offer residential accommodation for each of its subsidised businesses premises.
The park would also provide shared facilities for training and conferencing, along with business support, networking opportunities and mentoring services.
“This is an important project to lower the barriers to entry for small business in the Pilbara and to encourage economic diversification for our local economy,” Small Business Centre West Pilbara chairman Grant Cucel said.Once the incubator is operating in Karratha, it would be progressively expanded to Tom Price and Onslow, which the survey revealed would also benefit from a business incubator.