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Incubator life begins

THE foundation of the Kwinana Technology Business Incubator building is to be laid this week but the groundwork to establish Kwinana and Rockingham as a major portal for technology exchange between WA and Malaysia has been underway for some time.

According to the Rockingham Business Development Organisation, the business incubator has made considerable progress since reciprocal trade visits by both Malaysian and Western Australian delegations late last year.

Rockingham Business Development Organisation chairman David Winter said his organisation, which manages the KTBI, had worked hard to build ties with research, technology and business organisations in Australia and abroad.

Mr Winter said memorandums of understanding had been signed with businesses in Malaysia and Australia and also with Murdoch University and Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand.

He said the agreements were designed to facilitate the development of trade opportunities based on technological innovation.

One such agreement was with Malaysia’s Multimedia Development Corporation, which was negotiated during the initial trade visit last year.

Mr Winter said it was hoped the KTBI would help change the image of Kwinana from high industry to high technology and business innovation.

He said the technology incubator was aiming to provide a basis for innovative exchange programs that assisted businesses not only in Rockingham and Kwinana regions but also businesses in Malaysia.

“Malaysian organisations are looking to us as a way to enter the Western market,” Mr Winter said.

Rockingham Business Development Council, the operational arm of the RBDO, manager John Ham said while research and development would certainly be the focus, the centre would also look at housing other innovative businesses.

“We are looking at housing R&D businesses with an IT focus but will certainly look at other types of R&D,” he said.

The KTBI is funded by both Federal and local government and is expected to house between 18 and 20 businesses with an IT focus.

The Federal Government provided $500,000 as part of the AusIndustry Small Business Incubator Program, complemented by a package from the Town of Kwinana that provided funds for the land, the construction of the building and operational funds for 10 years to the tune of $2.1 million.

Town of Kwinana CEO Bob Searle said it was hoped the KTBI would have a positive effect on employment.

“It is part of what we’re trying to do to bring jobs into the area and get the region identified with high technology as well as heavy industry,” he said.

The KTBI is one of several business incubators that are scattered around the Perth metropolitan area and regional WA with others in Bentley, Welshpool, Midland, Bassendean and Albany.

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