Growing business opportunities at the Darwin Indigenous Trade Fair
Finding an eco-retreat in the middle of Darwin’s Convention Centre isn’t what you would usually expect, but this week’s Indigenous Business Trade Fair attracted suppliers from across the NT to the city.
The Trade Fair, organised by Supply Nation in conjunction with the NT Government saw the Darwin Convention Centre abuzz, showcasing NT Indigenous entrepreneurs to Australian Government representatives and corporate buyers.
Bringing a little bit of East Arnhem Land to Darwin, Helen Martin, owner of the Banu Banu Beach Retreat on Bremer Island takes opportunities such as Supply Nation’s Trade Fair to promote her eco-sensitive beach retreat.
An Arrernte woman from Alice Springs, Helen started Banu Banu in 2005 as a totally self-sufficient eco-retreat and sees the advantages of attending events like the Darwin Indigenous Trade Fair.
“I love going to these trade fairs because you learn about other businesses out there and it’s a good opportunity to network,” Helen said.
“We’re very remote at Banu Banu so we don’t get many chances to meet with other entrepreneurs and exchange ideas. There are a lot of business start-up programs around, especially in the Northern Territory, so get in touch with Government officials; they want you to succeed so they are eager to help.”
And as a successful business owner, Helen’s advice is worth noting.
“If you want to go into business, you’ve got to be passionate and love what you’re doing. I’m lucky myself because I’ve got a dream job in paradise. You still have to work hard to succeed but as long as you work hard enough you will succeed.”
The Australian Government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy has greatly increased the amount of contracts awarded to Indigenous businesses.
The Indigenous Procurement Policy, designed to increase the number of Australian Government contracts awarded to Indigenous businesses, launched on 1 July 2015 and has greatly exceeded expectations. In the Northern Territory alone, 206 Indigenous-owned businesses have won 591 contracts valued at over $116 million since the IPP started. Savvy business owners are taking full advantage of the policy, winning Government contracts at a rate unthinkable just a few years ago.