Business School Topics
Muway Constructions Director Joe Ross has told an Indigenous business conference that economic structures set up to support Indigenous businesses need to be remodelled.
Speaking at the Indigenous Business, Enterprise and Corporations Conference at the UWA Business School, Mr Ross said Indigenous businesses need very specific support from government and external organisations.
"We've got to start thinking about intervention and a government role in the creation of economic development in these communities and not have some laissez faire approach," Mr Ross said.
"Basically, people have got to be helped to start a business, to get a leg up, to be able to understand that they've got KPIs and performance measures that they've got to achieve."
Mr Ross said small and medium enterprises faced a funding gap because while grants are available to start businesses, transitioning into funding from a mainstream finance institution was difficult for businesses without intergenerational wealth or a strong credit history.
"Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) has to look beyond the secured finance programs they have to get to an unsecured finance capability, and be able to back a small business through service delivery agreements or an ability to trust a business if there are mentorships and other demonstrated support systems around that business or individual," Mr Ross said.
Mr Ross also criticised the Indigenous Land Corporation, saying that land enterprises should be returned back to Indigenous communities.
"They have a responsibility to Indigenous business not to be frolicking around in the agribusiness sector like an Emperor without clothes, all the while knowing smugly that if they do make mistakes they're backed by the greatest bank in Australia - us, the taxpayers," Mr Ross said.
Lending his support to several recommendations in Andrew Forrest's recent review, Mr Ross said the introduction of a Basic Card would help address the crystal meth problem facing his community.
"If you want to stop people selling to poor people and trapping them as drug addicts we've got to have the Basic Card in these communities," Mr Ross said.
"There needs to be a robust dialogue as to how you enter in and out of that, but this waste of cash on gambling, alcohol and now crystal meth in our communities... you need to have a really shock approach, a shock decision on how you tackle something that's tearing at the heart of our social fabric in Fitzroy Crossing."
Into the future, Mr Ross said support for Indigenous communities should be mindful of the different needs of Generation Y and Generation Z.
"I think we've got to work with them and communicate with them as to how economic and social and community development gets done in a way consistent with what their aspirations are," he said.
Mr Joe Ross was speaking at the 3rd Indigenous Business, Enterprise and Corporations Conference at the UWA Business School.