Incubating talent

AN increasing number of business incubators are setting up in Fremantle.

ThinkLab opened in Market Street last Thursday, joining Stackwood and The Fibonacci Centre in the Knutsford precinct, and Fremantle Prison’s Small Business Centre.

ThinkLab founder Tim Dean says business incubators—communal spaces where people with similar professions work—help entrepreneurs make the transition from start-up to small business without breaking the bank.

“People treat this [ThinkLab] as the next step away from working at home: that could be a small business, or someone who works in a regional capacity,” he told the Herald.

• Tim Dean at ThinkLab. Photo by Jonathan Cunningham

Mr Dean says Fremantle is an attractive location for young entrepreneurs.

“When you want to take a break from work there’s an endless variety of vibrant cafes with choices of food…that’s part of what makes working enjoyable.”

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt says the port city is the perfect environment for nurturing creative talent.

“I’m excited to see a growth in these sorts of places…Fremantle as a creative hub encourages them, they’re an extension of arts and culture spreading to technology and entrepreneurial enterprise,” he says.

“Creative spaces are encouraging a community based collaborative approach to running a business.”

Business incubator Enkel, based in the old Naval store at the end of the Fremantle traffic bridge, is due to open later this year.

Director Peter Van Schie says people use incubators to network and as a sounding-board for their ideas.

“The nature of work now means more people are working by themselves,” he says.

“Not everybody can do everything it takes to run a business; these places offer support to people in those situations.”

Stackwood Director Sarah Bell says small business owners need to do everything themselves, which is partly why communal creative spaces are becoming more popular.

by JONATHAN CUNNINGHAM

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