Small Business


in the


of businesses
have less than
20 employees


SMEs per 100 people
(compared to 6.8 per 100
in regional WA)

Small business is the lifeblood of any economy. Developing a diverse and competitive small to medium business sector is crucial to achieving sustainable economic growth and providing a diversity of career choices for Pilbara residents.

High costs of doing business, a dominant mining sector and a lack of critical mass has led to an under representation of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Pilbara compared to national averages.

The predominance of local businesses in the construction, rental, real estate, warehousing and logistics industries is closely aligned with the strength of regions mining sector. Meanwhile, businesses in other sectors such as education, retail and professional services are underrepresented across the Pilbara compared to regions of comparable size.

As the costs of operating a business in the Pilbara continues to normalise, commercial space becomes more readily available and the region’s population increases, opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship are emerging resulting in a more diverse and robust SME sector.

Investment in projects such as a network of co-working and innovation centres, along with supporting initiatives like the Creative Business Development Series and the Victoria Hotel Redevelopment will assist in the growth of small businesses in the region.

Growth of the Pilbara’s SME sector has the potential to foster greater innovation and collaboration, increase regional competitiveness and provide new and diversified employment opportunities, making it a key part of realising the region’s vision for 2050. The Commission is working in partnership with government, industry and business to achieve a number of strategic objectives that aim to unlock the Pilbara’s SME potential and make the 2050 vision a reality.

Current Projects

Pilbara Local Content Advisor

The Commission has a dedicated Local Content Advisor whose role is to develop, promote and maximise opportunities for local suppliers, contractors and jobseekers in the Pilbara by connecting to relevant government, industry, businesses, Aboriginal Corporations, employment and training stakeholders. Click here to read more about this role and how it will support local Pilbara businesses.

Newman Business Activation Program

The program, run by the Shire of East Pilbara, will activate the new co-working spaces delivered as part of the Newman Town Square project completed in July 2017. The flexible module facility, known as The Edge, boasts shared office space, commercial kitchen and retail pop-up space located in the heart of Newman. The program will ensure The Edge is a sustainable and well-used space that fosters growth in small businesses through networking events, business support and virtual business platforms.

OCCI Business Support Program

The Business Support Program is designed to deliver a holistic and tailored service to businesses in Onslow, to enable them to develop the capacity and capability to supply services and products to industry and government. The Program, run by the Onslow Chamber of Commerce, will determine supply and product opportunities, match local businesses to contract opportunities, and provide support to ensure businesses meet pre-qualification requirements. This targeted support will ensure Onslow businesses are benefitting from major industrial growth in the area, creating more local jobs and supporting the growing population.

Roebourne Victoria Hotel

Once restored, the Victoria Hotel is set to become a symbol of strength and new beginnings for Roebourne, the oldest town in the North West which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016. The fully restored Victoria Hotel will incorporate commercial office space, a visitor information centre, an eatery and a multi-purpose function space. The facility will act as a catalyst for business growth in Roebourne, creating new employment and training opportunities. Visit the project website for more information.

The WEB Business Hub

The WEB Business Hub will set a new approach to economic and business development in Port Hedland through innovation and co-working. Once complete, the WEB will provide a unique collaborative working space to support the development of existing and prospective new businesses. Managed by the Port Hedland Chamber of Commerce, the WEB will increase the productive capacity of the region by facilitating support to local small businesses through professional development and networking.

Karratha Business Enterprise Hub

The Karratha Enterprise Hub, delivered by Business Centre Pilbara, will be a vibrant and flexible space incorporating co-working areas, incubation suites, meeting rooms and space for business and community events. The project aims to expand and diversify businesses in the West Pilbara through enhance support services and infrastructure for start-ups.

Creative Business Development Series

The FORM project is an innovative two-year funding agreement that will deliver substantial economic diversification and capacity building through tourism, small businesses, creative industries and Aboriginal business development. The creative business development series included workshops on topics such as product photography, social media marketing, brand management, visual merchandising and product diversification. So far, the series has resulted in 14 new micro businesses and 80% of participants are now using social media to market their products and services.

REMPLAN Economic and Investment Profile

REMPLAN is a software package of online analytical tools and information resources for economic development, planning and tourism practitioners in local, state and federal government agencies, consulting firms, university researchers and students. REMPLAN provides a snapshot of the local Pilbara economy and how it contributes and compares to the broader state and Australian economies. The Commission utilises REMPLAN for its ability to model impacts of potential investments in the region. As part of this, the Commission provides stakeholders with free access to economic, community and investment information about the Pilbara.

Reports and publications

Useful links

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