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Neil WILLMETT

Year of Award: 2009 Award State: Queensland Business > General
Business > Indigenous
The Vincent Fairfax Churchill Fellowship to identify successful strategies that will enable the growth of Indigenous owned enterprises in Australia - USA, Canada, New Zealand
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Within Australia, a vibrant business sector consisting of privately owned Indigenous enterprises is emerging. The need to strategically develop this new sector is strong and urgent. Stakeholders collaborating under Indigenous guidance is the cornerstone to successful Indigenous enterprise growth, development and integration.

Stakeholders have tremendous potential to stimulate Indigenous business sector development, enterprise growth, foster enterprise integration, and provide innovative, sustainable, poverty alleviation strategies. However, to successfully achieve this, they will need to collaborate effectively to develop a much more ambitious strategic vision for the Indigenous business sector. Their efforts will have numerous benefits for Government, corporate Australia, Indigenous entrepreneurs, Indigenous families, communities and the Australian economy.

My work over the last decade in Australia and abroad has taught me that the acceptance, belief in and support of Indigenous business leaders is a pre-requisite if we are to truly develop a sustainable Indigenous business sector.

This report provides both leadership and information that can inform strategic direction discussions and debates. The report provides an overview of a number of proven strategies that have successfully guided the development of minority business in the United States, Canada and New Zealand over the last 30 years - many of which have never been considered or implemented in Australia.

Visits to the US Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency, National Minority Supplier Development Council (US), the Canadian Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Canadian Aboriginal Minority Supplier Council and the New Zealand Ministry of Maori Development, including interviews with a number of international business, procurement and policy leaders have informed this report.

The report is divided into three sections. Section 1 provides a brief overview of the Indigenous Business Sector and discusses the benefits of stimulating Indigenous enterprise growth in Australia. Section 2 provides an overview of successful strategies that have been used to grow, develop and integrate minority businesses internationally. Section 3 provides conclusions on the successful strategies and recommendations that are necessary to bring about change. Section 4 describes how this research should be disseminated to key stakeholders.

This report contains 50 recommendations. Importantly, the first three (3) promote the establishment of new structural components to support Indigenous enterprise development. These include:

  1. The establishment of the 'National Indigenous Enterprise Development Partnership'.
  2. The introduction of new national legislation called the 'National Code for the Protection of Indigenous Enterprises'.
  3. The establishment of the 'Office of National Commissioner for Indigenous Enterprise Development'.

If implemented, these changes will dramatically reform the Indigenous business sector in Australia, far beyond what is capable with goodwill and individual inputs.

I am pleased to share this important information with government, business leaders, corporate Australia, educators, the not-for-profit sector and other Indigenous enterprise owners. I hope that it will not only lead to new collaborations to rapidly develop the sector, but also result in the creation of second, third and fourth generation Indigenous enterprise owners in this prosperous country.

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