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New models of enterprise development

2009 July 6

Caring for Country ConferenceIndigenous enterprises come in many forms that reflect the hybrid nature of local economies that are characterized by developmental and formal economy features. There is an increasing desire by many people to participate more fully in the formal economy. Equally, conditions that are unique to very remote communities suggest that some of the ways that we think about how the ‘formal’ economy works, and what are appropriate enterprise models for it, also need to shift register.

Local food chains are a good example where new approaches can and are being brought to bear. Innovative approaches are currently underway to develop hub-and-spoke local production of food to be distributed to finite regional markets. Innovation has been occurring in how local food stores are run and operated in remote communities, marrying a mix of social and economic objectives and operating criteria. Community Supported Agriculture models, recently incorporated into the ‘Box of Veg’ project conducted by the Crops, Forestry and Horticulture Division of the NT Department of Regional Development, Primary industry, Fisheries and Resources is an innovative project underway to explore and develop new, culturally appropriate, enterprise models for local food production.

The Caring for Country land and sea ranger programs are a successful example of how traditional knowledge and skills are being leveraged to deliver new employment opportunities and deliver vital services to country.

Micro and very small enterprises may offer employment opportunities for people in remote communities to service specific local needs. Local food production and preparation for community programs and health services suggest micro enterprise opportunities, as might rethinking options to foster weekly local produce ‘markets’ to be run conjunction with local community food stores or community led programs.

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