How to get a head start from jail

WANT to start a business in Fremantle but have no experience? Then go straight to jail.

For the past three years the Coastal Business Centre, located in a wing of the old Fremantle Prison, has been incubating small businesses.

Coastal Business Centre executive officer Phil Kemp said the incubator started in May 1997 and has hatched more than 50 businesses. Of those only five have closed due to financial reasons.

Some statistics indicate the failure rate of small businesses in the first five years is 80 per cent.

Mr Kemp said the Fremantle incubator was formed through a joint effort between the Fremantle City Council and the Federal Government.

Mr Kemp said the incubator had a 50 per cent occupancy. It has room for 85 businesses and is home to 36.

“We get a couple of enquiries a week,” Mr Kemp said.

“We offer office space in a professional environment at a reasonable rent. Tenants pay no bond up front and pay their rent month by month.”

There is also a secretarial service.

Mr Kemp said while the offices were only carpeted and heated, he hoped to provide a full serviced office set up. The offices are the old prison’s cells.

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