Business School Topics
A ‘build it and they will come’ mentality will not meet the needs of growing northern Australia, experts have told an Indigenous business conference at The University of Western Australia.
Professor Ruth Wallace, from Charles Darwin University, said the development of enterprises and jobs that align with Aboriginal people’s goals and ambitions creates new opportunities. These opportunities draw on people’s strengths and can contribute to a high value knowledge workforce in northern Australia.
Development programs, Professor Wallace explained, can go beyond existing business models challenging the idea that "a mango farm or a cattle farm will fix your community.” However, the problem with this was that many Indigenous people wanted careers in areas other than farming, Professor Wallace said.
It is important Aboriginal people have choice in their futures: “Someone might say I could go and dig holes… or I could do something in the high knowledge area, I could be a leader,” Professor Wallace said.
Professor Wallace commented on the impact of new Aboriginal procurement rules which have developed new opportunities. “If putting out tenders isn’t enough [to encourage Indigenous business], what do we do differently?” Professor Wallace asked.
With more than 30 per cent of the Northern Territory’s population under the age of 15, knowledge and technology present new areas of employment for Indigenous people.
Mikaela Jade, Managing Director of Indigital, is an example of an Indigenous millennial entrepreneur. Ms Jade shared her story at the Indigenous, Business, Enterprise and Corporations Conference, explaining how her company develops innovative new ways to digitise and translate knowledge and culture from remote and ancient communities.
Indigital Storytelling uses drones, 4D mapping software, image recognition technology and cultural law to bring the world's cultural sites alive through augmented reality.
The Indigenous Business, Corporations and Enterprise Conference was held at the UWA Business School on Thursday 1 and Friday 2 December. The conference was hosted by the Centre for Social Impact UWA under the direction of Professor Paul Flatau, and the UWA School of Indigenous Studies under the direction of Professor Jill Milroy.
Claire Stokes (Centre for Social Impact UWA) (+61 8) 6488 7575