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2011 INDIGENOUS BUSINESS AWARDS Come and meet the 2011 Indigenous in Business award WINNERS from this years Ethnic Business Awards ... pg 6


FIRST EDITION IN THIS ISSUE Your Essential IT Tools for Business Effective marketing strategy Business Ideas ... and much, much more.


The hot ticket in 2012


Discover Aboriginal dreaming paths and trading ways

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EDITORS DESK - Welcome to BlackBiz PUBLISHER DETAILS: Publisher BlackBiz P/L ABN 49 146 020 662 PO BOX 23 Revesby North, NSW 2212 Ph: 0418 440 210 Fax: 02 9475 0921


Editor Paul Newman

Senior Editors Phil Voysey

Creative & Technical Director Matt Brady

Contributors Tamar Ferhad Ashur Lazar Phil Voysey Dale Kerwin

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Advertising & General Enquiries Email: Phone: 0418 440 210

Disclaimer The authors, editors, publisher and their staff and agents are not responsible for the accuracy or correctness of statements made or information contained in this publication or for the consequences of any use made of the products, services and information referred to in this publication. AlI liability of whatsoever nature is expressly disclaimed for any consequences arising from any errors or omissions contained in this publication whether caused to a reader of this publication or otherwise. The views expressed in the articles and other material published herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor and publisher or their staff or agents. It is impossible for the publisher and editor to ensure that the advertisements and other material herein comply with the Trade Practices Act 1974. Readers should make their own inquiries in making decisions and, where necessary, seek professional advice. Many images used in BlackBiz are supplied by contributing companies and are accepted in the belief that they are the property of these companies and that they have the right to use them. The publisher does not accept responsibility for any image improperly supplied or acknowledged. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part, without written permission, is strictly prohibited.

Dear Reader

edition of this historic tement that we bring you the first It is with great pleasure and exci magazine.  first national Indigenous business BlackBiz eMagazine, Australia’s us business , our bi-monthly BlackBiz Indigeno With many years in the planning us entrepreneurship, geno Indi rse dive and rich a’s eMagazine will celebrate Australi along with showcasing journey, the oldest in the world, economic activity and business ul 21st century flair of a wide variety of successf the dynamic business talent and e sector, and in the pris nter ity e mun g today in the com Indigenous businesses operatin e business sector.  mainstream Australian corporat the historic and recognition and celebration of The BlackBiz eMagazine is also scape over many land ent practices across this anci dynamic Indigenous economic nology across tech ing shar and s good ons trading millennia, with Indigenous nati dges and owle ackn also ional trading routes. It established national and internat ity leaders in mun com and eers pion ness busi y black remembers the efforts of the man for change” seed the nted “pla igenous supporters who history, along with their non-Ind change and ic onom o-ec soci us geno Indi for positive in helping lay the foundations development over many decades. today’s Indigenous us enterprises across Australia, With an estimated 5,000 Indigeno economy, with strong an trali Aus the to dollars annually economy contributes billions of e of business sectors rprises flourishing in a broad rang and innovative Indigenous ente ent opportunities loym emp and ing train ity vocational across the country, providing qual ugh this strong Thro ous. Indigenous and non-Indigen for thousands of Australians, both s, are also size and es shap all of ses Indigenous enterpri trying to Indigenous economic activity, in s ative initi supporting various government s such actively playing a major part in ative initi y polic ort supp ctly gap, which dire -2018, close the Indigenous disadvantage 2011 tegy Stra genous Economic Development llbeing of as the Federal Governments Indi c we omi econ and onal pers d support the increase policy framework, that aims to .  omy greater participation in the econ Indigenous Australians through s, from Australia’s of positive catalyst over the year There has also been a number e milestones such as land lativ ortant government legis reconciliation movement and imp vehicle for Indigenous tive posi a ided prov n, which have rights and native title legislatio socio-economic development. Supplier Council Australian Indigenous Minority The recent establishment of the a strong ding buil her tive platform in furt (AIMSC), is also providing a posi Australian and global ving evol ever y’s toda in ure cult Indigenous entrepreneurship , also means a healthy Indigenous society and economy economy. Remember, a healthy ally and economically.    Australian nation, culturally, soci kBiz Indigenous e along and join us on the Blac So with our very first edition, com a’s rich and diverse trali Aus e we showcase and celebrat business eMagazine journey, as . tury Cen in the 21st Indigenous entrepreneurship

Paul Newman BlackBiz Editor & Founder November 2011

BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011


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BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011




Come and meet the recent Indigenous in Business Awards winner and finalists in the 2011 NAB Ethnic Business Awards........... 6-9



Aboriginal recruitment the hot ticket in 2012!!............................................................................................. 10 Have a business idea? - Paul Newman.................................................................................................. 14-15 Aboriginal dreaming paths and trading ways - Dale Kerwin.................................................................... 16-18 Strategic Planning for Business - Phil Voysey............................................................................................. 22



BIZTECH Your Essential IT Tools for Business - Ashur Lazar...................................................................... 11 MARKETING MIX Establishing the foundations for an effective marketing strategy - Tamar Ferhad...................................................................................... 12-13

BIZPROFILE - Gaawaa Miyay - Contemporary Indigenous Design................................................................................................................................. 19-21

BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011


2011 Indigenous in Business Winners

And the winners are... Victorian based Indigenous company Complete Workwear Services, have taken out this years national Indigenous in Business Award at the prestigious 2011 Ethnic Business Awards, held on 7 November 2011 at a special awards ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney.


he Gala Event which had over 350 guests from both Federal and State Governments, the private sector, the media, community leaders, industry officials and Heads of Diplomatic Missions in Australia, was hosted by renowned media personality Tracey Spicer. In it’s 23rd year, these awards are Australia’s pre-eminent inclusive awards in recognition of our nation’s diversity and the role this plays in driving business success and innovation,” said Awards founder, Mr Joseph Assaf. In winning the 2011 Indigenous in Business Award, Complete Workwear Services founded their business firstly in a garage and servicing customers from the boot of a car. Owners Robert and Nicole Stewart are certainly laundry pioneers. For those people who flew to Sydney for the awards, many may have been kept warm on the flight with a blanket maintained by Complete Workwear Services. Their operation in this niche airline industry has proven to be successful and engages their whole family. For more information on Complete Workwear Services, check their website: Winner Nicole Stewart from Complete Workwear Services with Tracey Spicer


BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011

Judge Joseph Elu and wife, Dituni Elu with Joseph Assaf

2011 Indigenous in Business Winners

ges for nel of ju d a p t r e p x e The inclu de d: the award s AO der and Josep h Elu munity lea s co m Ind igeno u l Co uncil; A Reg iona P N e th f o Mayor

AO AC Don Argus an of BHP Biliton; er C hair m Form

ni Eve Cres ta ercer’s Trustee Company; of M C hair man

Joseph Healy, Group Executive NAB Business Banking, said the bank was proud to support the Indigenous in Business Award category, which recognise some of Australia’s greatest Indigenous business success stories. “NAB’s sponsorship of the Award reflects our long term commitment to supporting a diverse range of Australian businesses,” Mr Healy said. “The winners in each category received ten thousand dollars cash from the National Australia Bank. They also each received a beautiful crystal trophy, and a holiday package on the Gold Coast’s gorgeous, six star, Palazzo Versace hotel, where they’ll be pampered for five nights in absolute luxury.”

gell Allan Gyn al of the Office of en G er Director; ssessments National A

itkowski Dr Ziggy Sw ecutive of Telstra, er chief ex Form d Ko dak; an Optus and

patti AC AM Carla Zam ous Fashion fam Australia’s pioneer.

Top Left: Warren Roberts - Elva Taylor - Phillip Obah Top Middle: Ken Wyatt MP Top Right: Welcome and Acknowledgement of Country - Paul Newman Left: Joseph Assaf - The Hon Kate Lundy - Joseph Healy NAB -Nicole Stewart (Indigenous in Business Winner 2011) - Ken Wyatt MP Above: The Torzyn’s & The Hon Christopher Pyne BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011


2011 Indigenous in Business Winners

As the second winner of the Indigenous in Business Award category, Complete Workwear, will now share in cash and prizes of $10,000 from the founding partner and major sponsor – National Australia Bank. Others finalists for the 2011 Indigenous in Business Award included:

Print Junction From Wingfield, South Australia, the Indigenous owned business Print Junction, is driven by husband and wife team Leon and Shelia Torzyn. Over the last fifteen years they have evolved to keep with the fervent development of digital publishing. To help drive the family printing business along, the Torzyn’s now have their daughter Leah, and son Nathan working in the business – a real family affair.

Finalist Shelia Torzyn from Print Junction with Joseph Assaf

Messagestick Communications Michael McLeod, CEO Messagestick Communications was another Indigenous business finalist who has demonstrated great business flair and excellence in operating the Sydney based Indigenous audio and video conferencing company. At a mere 18 months, business owner Michael McLeod became a member of the stolen generation; a devastation that followed his life journey through to his early 30’s until he made the ardent decision to turn his life around. Since then he has gone on to lead Australia’s largest Indigenous owned, audio and video conferencing agency Message Stick Communications Finalist Michael McLeod from Messagestick Communications with Joseph Assaf


BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011

2011 Indigenous in Business Winners

Milward Consulting Services Karen Milward, Principal of Milward Consulting Services from Doncaster East, Victoria, was also a worthy finalist. Having both parents in business themselves; entrepreneurship was in Karen Milward’s genes. Today she provides specialist Indigenous consulting to some of the world’s largest organisations. She is also an active member numerous boards and including the Premier’s Aboriginal Advisory Council in Victoria.

Finalist Karen Milward from Milward Consulting Services with Joseph Assaf

From Left to Right: Joseph Healy NAB - The Hon Kate Lundy - Peter Puljich (Med. Large Business Winner 2011) - Joseph Assaf - Ken Wyatt MP - Tracey Spicer - Nicole Stewart (Indigenous in Business Winner 2011) - Dr Michael Cejnar (Small Business Winner 2011)

The inaugural winner of Australia’s first national EBA Indigenous in Business Award category in 2010 was Western Australia’s Carey Mining, which has contracts with AngloGold Ashanti, Barrick Gold, BHPB Nickel West and Rio Tinto. Carey Mining employs a significant Indigenous workforce, and runs a training scheme for high-risk Indigenous students. 2010 Winner - Daniel Tucker, Carey Mining

More information including photographs of award winners is available from: Contact: Maria Tzovaras – (02) 9568 5022 for more information BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011


ARTICLE - Aboriginal recruitment

Aboriginal recruitment the hot ticket in 2012!!


hether you are an Indigenous enterprise or mainstream Australian corporate organisation, the recruitment, selection and retention of quality and valuable employees can be both a rewarding and a challenging exercise. With human resources being one of the most valuable assets for a business, it is important to ‘get it right’ to ensure valuable time and production isn’t lost. As the current year is coming to a close, many companies will be now be starting to review and explore their human resource needs for the upcoming 2012 year. Indigenous recruitment options in 2012 could well be ‘the hot ticket’ item for helping your business to get the organisational mix right. To ensure your business is ready to start the New Year on the right foot, and is not caught with human resource shortages (and lost production time), why not explore the Indigenous recruitment options now available. One such option is through the Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES) a not-for-profit Indigenous employment organisation that specialises in working with corporate companies to place and mentor Indigenous Australians in employment. The AES commenced operations in 1997 in Moree NSW, with the support of the Cotton Industry’s, Gwydir Valley Cotton Growers Association. The seed for the AES enterprise grew out from the recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission in to Black Deaths in Custody to establish Aboriginal employment promotion committees nationwide. Having successfully established its initial operation and Aboriginal employment service foundations model in the rural town of Moree, NSW, the AES quickly grew and expanded across NSW to Tamworth in 2003, Dubbo in 2004 and Sydney in 2005. The successful expansion of the AES Aboriginal employment service business model across NSW laid the foundation for the AES to build a national presence and expand into QLD, NT, WA and VIC. 10

Now with a national Indigenous employment service presence, the AES employs over 70 people who provide a broad range of specialist recruitment and vocational training services. AES employees actively work with employers to source and place Indigenous jobseekers into employment opportunities. It’s success, has seen the AES become a national leader for Indigenous School Based Traineeships, and effectively managing trainees for Host Employers since 2002. Since this date, the AES has delivered over 500 placements with a retention rate of 80% in 2009. The AES is also an accredited Group Training Organisation in NSW, NT, QLD, VIC and WA and a member of the GTA Australia. It manages and administers traineeships and apprenticeships for Aboriginal people in a broad range of industry sectors including: • Business Administration • Financial Services • Building and Construction • Retail • Agriculture • Logistics • Aviation • IT • Hospitality • Community Services By implementing its proven business model and strategy, the AES has been able to maintain a consistent and reliable service that has attracted significant growth interest of participants from many well known companies that access its professional employment services everyday. So why not talk to the AES today to help your business get the recruitment mix right in 2012. To find out more, visit

BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011

BIZTECH - Ashur Lazar

Your Essential IT Tools for Business Business has come along way from reliance on the old manual filing systems and having to wait for the daily postal mail services to arrive at the office so we could check and distribute the office mail. But even with modern technology advances, many present day businesses are still lagging behind the Information Technology (IT) revolution on our business doorsteps today. size of the book every year and this decline will just accelerate in the coming years. In this fast paced environment it is imperative that Indigenous businesses at a minimum, have a competent website and an email address for potential customers and business colleagues to contact them.


ith today’s fast paced business world, it is essential that both Indigenous corporate businesses and community based enterprises are electronically connected for business with their essential Internet tools and business needs of email, and a website in place for doing business. In fact, the Internet is the great disrupter of the modern world. In little more than 15 years, it has dramatically changed the way that Australians work and play. The rapid rate of new innovations that is has brought on, has changed how we purchase products, how we communicate with business colleagues and friends, and how businesses attract new customers. I’ll throw some statistics your way. Eighty percent of households in Australia have access to the internet, that’s seventeen million people as of 2009. Ten million Australians use Facebook as of 2011. The rapid uptake of smartphones like the iPhone and iPad have left most businesses without a strategy when it comes to these new mediums and social hubs.

Old methods such as just relying on the yellow pages to find businesses or handing out printed material just won’t do anymore. The other issue is the shifting demographic of the customer base. As more and more people are born and raised with the Internet as their primary method of communicating with the world, if you don’t have a website you just won’t be seen. The benefits that businesses, small or large can get from a website are enormous if you use it to it’s full potential. Unlike printed material it can change as your business changes. So it can start as a brochure website conveying what your business does to an important part of your sales process. You can communicate directly with your customers in getting feedback on new services and products immediately, without spending very much money at all. You can even find out who is visiting your website, what they are clicking on, where they are coming from and much more. This information is invaluable for businesses, particularly for marketing purposes, and it can be seen on a daily basis. I’ll leave you with this famous quote.

“Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.”

Between 2002 and 2009 yellow pages usage within Sydney declined by 69%. We’ve all seen the reduced BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011

Mohandas K. Gandhi


MARKETING MIX - Tamar Ferhad

Establishing the foundations for an effective marketing strategy The first in a series of articles for BlackBiz covering business marketing strategy development and it’s delivery.

This is exactly what I need! This comment equals business success and is a dream come true for any business. The only way to achieve this is to understand your customer target market through effective Market Research. If you give people what they need at a price they feel is fair, you will be doing a lot of selling, making a lot of money, and have many satisfied customers. So, in the start up phase of your business, you need to ask: “What do my intended customer target market want?” Successful marketing strategies revolve around what their target market want. Whether your business idea is new or you’re going to compete in an established industry, you need to listen carefully to your intended target market. An effective marketing strategy starts with market research so you can: • Identify your customer target market; • Understand their needs; • Create compelling reasons for purchase; • Set a reasonable price; and • Reach them via magazines, websites, shops, events. For instance, the price point you have in mind could be too low for your target market, and by doing so may undervalue it. Or you may find that although men in a particular age bracket would be the main user of your product/service, it’s the woman in the family who will make the purchase, so you need to be designing your strategies to reach both men and women. Being part of the Indigenous community, there is a network of businesses and community organisations, as well as your friends and family who can participate in your market research, which will allow you to understand your market better.


Your target audience for your market research will obviously depend on your specific product or service offerings, and associated demographics such as age and gender. An important first step and tip in your market research process, is to firstly arrange a Market Research Confidentiality Agreement with people who you talk with during your market research activity. With your market research participants agreeing to sign the confidentiality agreement, this will legally bind your market research participants to keep your market research discussions confidential. Remember, your business idea may be so new and innovative, and

BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011

MARKETING MIX - Tamar Ferhad

with a lot of potential, that it suddenly grows legs, walks away and makes somebody else rich. So protect your business idea and yourself, and speak to a solicitor about preparing a Market Research Confidentiality Agreement document for use in your market research activities. Next, you have to design the types of questions you need to ask. You’ll need to use a combination of quantitative questions, (yes/ no questions or ‘rate this between 1 and 5’) so you can get some overall trends, and qualitative questions (Like “What do you think…?”, “How can this improve…?”) for a deeper understanding of your market. Don’t ask people for their names, but ask their gender, age group, where they live, what they read, etc to profile your proposed customer target market. Then you need to trial your questions. The wording has to make sense and the question type has to be relevant to the answer, ie. if it’s a yes/no question, would it be better to include a maybe option? If it’s yes/no, do you want reasons for their choice? Find out from some people you trust as to how easy the questions are to understand, how appropriate the type of response is for the information you want to collect, and how long it takes to answer these questions. Once you have your questions fine tuned and you’ve identified who you want to ask, then go for it. Remember the more people you ask the better. A sample of 50 people would be ideal.

Tips for market r designing e ques tion search s

All the best in your quest for answers in helping to build your marketing strategy. In the next BlackBiz we’ll look at how to turn the answers to your market research into your marketing message.

BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011

1. Identif y the dem ographic, gender, b age, rands the y purchas e. 2. Are th ey using a s im ilar product/ ser vice? 3. Are th ey loyal to a part brand/co icular mpany an d why? 4. Find o ut the min imum an maximum d they wou ld pay. 5. Learn about wh at they w read and atch, listen to.


u b a Have

? a e d i s s e n si



ost people sometime in life will have a business idea that they are thinking of. But sadly, that’s where it often remains just an idea, because as we begin to think more about the business idea, and perhaps do a little research, we are daunted by a host of questions that begin to emerge, like; where do I start? Who can I talk to? Where can I get help in bringing my business idea to fruition? Do I need a business plan? How am I going to finance it, and so on. The good thing for aspiring Indigenous entrepreneurs, is that today there are a many sources of business help and advice out there from government agencies, like Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), to professional business advisors in areas like finance, law, information technology and human resources that you can tap into, often free of charge, before you invest too much time and money into trying to bring your business idea to life.

But the big question still remains – where do I start? A good point to start with any business idea, is to begin to “map it out” on paper so it can become visual dot points on paper, and not just in your mind. So brainstorm the key dot points or headings you are thinking of, and put pen to paper. Once you have those mental ideas and thoughts mapped out in front of you, then the next step is to add your questions you are thinking of under each dot point. Next step is to then try and prioritise which points and questions you need to action in some type of chronological order, so you have broken down “business idea’” thoughts into small and manageable chunks or tasks to deal with. Once completed, the next step is to nominate a specified and realistic timeline that you can action each identified task. From here you can then undertake some more specific research on any of your identified questions in the initial mapping out stage, and on any additional questions that have arisen during this time. This is where you can begin the next step of identifying who you may need to now talk to about your business idea, such as your accountant or government business advisory services for help and TIPS advice on next steps in starting a business. If your initial research on your proposed business idea has given you the confidence that your business idea has some potential merit, then from this initial “business idea” mapping out exercise, you will have obtained essential advice and information for you to now begin the next important phase of writing a “Business Plan” to really bring your business idea to fruition. Good luck with your business idea!!

BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011

• Map it ou

t by c headings in reating point form • List your qu estions under each point • Prioritise you r points • Create a time line • Identify you r resources • Implement yo ur idea into bu siness 15

ARTICLE - Aboriginal dreaming paths

Aboriginal dreaming paths and trading ways By Dale Kerwin


n important aspect of a distinct Aboriginal culture derives from the tradition of travel, and the tangible and intangible goods that were traded along communication routes that criss-crossed Australia. The external and internal trade of cultural products generated knowledge of other societies, and impacted on societies that traded. The movement of these tangible objects, and the movement of material culture, resulted in expert mapping and familiarity with the dispersion paths taken by Aboriginal travellers. In this movement coastal estuaries, river systems, and catchment areas played a major role in assisting Aboriginal travellers to move deep into the very heart of Australia. These paths were also later followed by European surveyors and stockmen. The dreaming paths of Aboriginal nations across Australia formed major ceremonial routes along which goods and knowledge flowed. These became the trade routes that criss-crossed Australia and transported religion and cultural values. Aboriginal roads assisted the European colonisation of Australia by appropriating Aboriginal competence in terms of the landscape: by tapping into culinary and medicinal knowledge, water and resource knowledge, hunting, food collecting and path-finding. As a consequence of this assistance, Aboriginal dreaming paths and trading ways also became the routes and roads of colonisers.

was a time “ sharing of ideas and technology such as the woomera and outrigger

Trading was a time for sharing Murrandoo Yanner, an Aboriginal leader from the Ganggalida nation, Mungubie (Burketown) North Queensland, talked in a personal communication in 1994 about the tradition and history of trading:


canoes with sails.

We had our domestic trade routes that went north, south, east and west, my people the Ganggalida traded for oysters, sea turtle and dugong from the north and in return we had goanna and turkey. We went to Normanton for gidgee lancewood and heavy wood for spears and clap sticks, we went west to Garawa for spear flints and stuff. We went south to the Waanyi and we also traded for a stone axe from the Kalkadoons. 16

BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011

ARTICLE - Aboriginal dreaming paths

We never just traded for goods, trading was a time for sharing of ideas and technology such as the woomera and outrigger canoes with sails. The didgeridoo started in a small place in Arnhem Land and by the time whites arrived it had spread over half the distance of Australia. There was also a lot of ceremony sharing, of food, of stories, of culture and time together. Trade was a time of catching up both pleasure and business. My mob when travelling would grind up the Mitchell grass and make Johnny cakes out of it. Stone axes from the Mount Isa area found their way to areas along the eastern coast. In addition, the engraved pearl shells from the Dampier Peninsula, northwestern Australia, actually reached the shores of the Great Australian Bight over 3200 kilometres, and the oval baler-shell ornaments from Cape York, north-eastern Australia.

Pituri road One of the most important Aboriginal Highways is the ‘Pituri Road’. According to Pamela Watson’s 1983 monograph on the production, distribution and consumption of pituri, the Pituri Road ‘encompassed a river system where the headwaters of numerous streams [flowed] north into the Gulf of Carpentaria’. These streams also lie close to the catchment area for the Channel Country, where the tributaries of the southward-flowing waters of the Diamantina and Georgina Rivers flow. The Diamantina and Georgina Rivers form the floodplains of the Channel Country and the Lake Eyre basin. In this area the Finke and other river systems flow south into South Australia and Central Australia. According to Watson, the direction of the water formed the main trunk route for trade also flowed along other numerous river systems branching out from the main trunk. The Pituri Road brought together ‘religious and social institutions and inventors of technique’. Pituri was also traded along these same story chains into Western Australia. The material was moved along the Two Dogs’ Dreaming story, which formed a major trading route.

Cohesive knowledge network To provide a better understanding of the many devices used by Aboriginal people to move over the country, knowledge is required of tangible objects like the shield. Some of these objects are sacred while others are commonplace, everyday objects. The landscape, knowledge, story, song, graphic representation, and social relations all mutually interact, forming, according to David Turnbull in 1989, one ‘cohesive knowledge network’ to create way-finding devices. Sandstone grinding dishes quarried at a site near Stuart Creek, south of Lake Eyre, were also taken north into Bedourie. Material culture of high economic significance was moved from one Aboriginal nation to another stage by stage. This may have taken years; and the value of the object increased as it got further from its point of origin. BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011


ARTICLE - Aboriginal dreaming paths

... These items were moved along a major communication route from the west of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia and north to the Gulf of Carpentaria in Queensland. The latter route also linked with the route across Mount Isa to Cloncurry. Material culture that travelled up from the Flinders Ranges was red ochre, fine sandstone grinding dishes, and pituri. Material culture traded south from Cloncurry and the Gulf of Carpentaria included baler shell, stone axes, and pituri (the latter being the major commodity). The trading parties undertook major trading expeditions to the Flinders Ranges for red ochre and to Madlhu for pituri. These parties would travel several hundred kilometres, while others would possibly travel over 1000 kilometres.

Simpson Desert The Simpson Desert was the hub of a major trading route along which goods travelled in all directions. It was a meeting place and a major trading centre for pituri. Tangible cultural material property as well as intangible cultural knowledge passed through the region. One such road that ran from Pituri Creek, on the Northern Territory and Queensland border, to Rockhampton is over 1600 kilometres long. Just outside of Rockhampton at the Carnarvon Ranges, baler shell stencils can be found. At the source of one pituri plantation at Woodnunajilla waterhole (Apwertetywernkwerre) (known as Salt Lake and related to the Snake Dreaming in Arrernte country), Urtneye was harvested and taken to Lake Caroline, where many groups would travel to trade for the tobacco. A.W. Howitt, W.E. Roth and pastoralist Lee Reese, have all noted the great distances that pituri trading took place – such as the 1600 kilometres Pituri Creek to Rockhampton route. Anne McConnell noted in 1976 that Boulia, Goyders Lagoon, and Kopperamanna also served as pituri trade centres. The Aboriginal dreaming paths across Australia formed major ceremonial routes along which goods and knowledge flowed. Indeed, the European colonisation of Australia owes much of its success to the deliberate process of Aboriginal land management practices. Dr. Dale Kerwin is a lecturer with the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University and the author of the book “Aboriginal Dreaming Paths and Trading Routes” published by Sussex Academic Press (December 1, 2010). 18

BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011

BIZPROFILE - Gaawaa Miyay

GAAWAA MIYAY - Contemporary Indigenous Design An interview with Lucy Simpson Lucy Simpson, an inspirational Indigenous business women and creator of Indigenous design business Gaawaa Miyay, draws inspiration from her Yuwaalaraay heritage ushering in a new genre of Australian Design. Inspired by the people, place and country of her ancestors, Lucy’s contemporary Indigenous designs are a continuation of age old traditions expressed in new and exciting ways. The result is timeless and sophisticated, contemporary and stylish. Her professional design work is at its purest, a celebration of her identity – expressing, interpreting, and connecting through layers of time and memory. Blackbiz recently caught up with Lucy and asked her to share with us some of her inspirational business story: Lucy can us tell us a little about your business story, when and how did you get started in business? I have always had a passion for design, and I have always been proud of my identity, so I guess these were the driving forces that led me to the creation of my business Gaawaa Miyay. Having had no real experience in business, and perhaps not even fully realising the

many elements and responsibilities of being a small business owner, I did know that I had a dream to own my own business, and found the transition from Designer to small business owner to be an intense yet productive process that happened in a short amount of time but in quite an organic way. It all began as my major work at University, studying a Bachelor of Design at the College of Fine Arts, where I developed a range of textile prints for homewares “Gaawaa Miyay” (River Daughter) – a series of designs

BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011


BIZPROFILE - Gaawaa Miyay

that expressed identity, connection to country and family - things really evolved from there. After graduating I went on to exhibit the textiles in a national touring graduate exhibition, and spoke on the range and elements of visual storytelling at the Indigenous textile conference “Selling Yarns” at the National Museum of Australia in 2009. From these experiences I was then asked to contribute to an online blog for Craft Australia and it was from this online forum that I was given a contact at Industry and Investment NSW in the Aboriginal Business Development Program. Through the program, I worked closely with an advisor who helped me to fully understand and consider my goals, define desired outcomes in business, and pursue what it was that I really wanted to do.. celebrate culture, share language and tell the stories of my people (old and new). Through the assistance received from the Department of Trade and Investment NSW (formerly Industry and Investment NSW) I created a business plan, established a company website, developed branding, attended workshops, received intense business mentoring and formed industry partnerships and collaborations – and developed my first range of commercial products – showing them at trade shows and receiving recognition in mainstream media, and I continue to build on and develop the range today with its official launch early 2012. What have been your inspirations along your business journey pathway? My Mum, Dad and two sisters have always supported me and encouraged me to follow my passion and most importantly believe in my abilities, they have truly inspired me to strive for my dreams, and have been there for me every step of the way. I believe without that continued support and encouragement that I receive from family, I wouldn’t have achieved any of the things I have today. Having a daughter of my own, as well as a young niece and nephew also remind me of the importance of continuing Yuwaalaraay tradition - learning language and sharing story, it’s our job to pass it on to them, as it will be their job to do the same. To see Aboriginal business in my local community, friends from Uni now working in their chosen fields (from Lawyers, Doctors, Nurses, Teachers, Social Workers, to Curators, Administrators and Engineers), as well as others who also work passionately in the creative industry succeed and continue to do what makes them proud is always 20

BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011

BIZPROFILE - Gaawaa Miyay

an inspiration to me also - getting our culture and experiences and stories out there, and giving back to our communities is something that is so important and will forever drive me to do the same. In another way I am also inspired by the appropriated, unauthentic, and ‘inspired by’ Aboriginal Art and Design out there currently on the market created by overseas factories and others trying to cash in on the Indigenous arts market and our culture generally. These cheap (and at times quite high end) knock-offs remind me of the importance of genuine examples of true Aboriginal Art and Design, and the power and importance behind these ‘authentic’ expressions of culture and story, and why it is curtail for me to remember the importance of telling my own story. What are some typical business challenges you have encountered, and how did you tackle these challenges? I guess there have been many (big and small) business challenges that I have come across in the last couple of years, and some have been things that have put me out of my comfort zone, I have always been quite a shy person, and I found exhibiting at my first trade show to be quite a testing and stressful experience in its lead up, but I found that once I was talking to people, explaining the designs and discussing the products that I really had nothing to worry about.. people were genuinely interested in the story, responded positively to the products, and I think my passion really shone through – which I feel was what got me through – this belief in myself driving me to keep doing what I do. Financial obstacles have also served as challenges along the way, but I have found that by being committed and proactive in my business practice, that there have been a variety of solutions to these kinds of issues. As a new business, start up and manufacturing costs have been an essential component and large strain on the business (for the most part expenses outweighing profit), but with support through various agencies, as well as Indigenous and some of the mainstream and Indigenous business loans that are available, there are ways of operating within your means to get things to that next level, generate profit and at a pace that is realistic and considered.

non-monetary have been the need for resourcefulness, and working with existing networks, family and friends in a range of things. I am lucky enough to have family and friends in legal, accounting, and with sewing skills, so fortunately for me I have been able to exchange for a variety of services in this time of building the business. Another real challenge I have found, has been maintaining a balance of the business with personal life, and working from my home base primarily (and as a sole trader) has been the main reason for this. I know that to be successful in business you definitely need to commit and put everything into making things work, and be flexible – within reason. Without having a healthy balance of family time, exercise and social activity I have found that things just don’t work. The obvious solution to this has been to determine business hours to work within (talking weekends off and creating suitable working hours), understanding the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and most importantly valuing family time. I also now have a studio space that has been provided by my local council, and having that space to work from has made a huge difference in maintaining that balance. What business tips or advice can you give to other budding Indigenous entrepreneurs out there? I reckon that if you have a passion and an interest in developing business that nothing should stop you from achieving your dream. Never let fears or self doubt get in the way of doing what it is that you love, and if you are able to do what you’re truly passionate about for a job then it’s never really work. It is also really important to share our stories, experiences, and passion as Aboriginal people – it strengthens the spirit and creates new avenues to practice and share tradition and culture in new and innovative ways – driving us to be forever learning, sharing and building on knowledge, which leads to empowerment and positive change.

For more information on Lucy’s inspirational business story and journey, visit her business website

A solution to some of these issues which have been

BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011


ARTICLE - Phil Voysey

Strategic Planning for Business I

n today’s competitive business world, it is vital for Indigenous businesses to understand the importance of strategic planning for doing business, and be actively engaged in strategic planning processes in helping set out your strategic business pathways in the short, medium and long term. For example, ask the question - Where do you see the business or community enterprise being in 1, 3 and 5 years. In considering this question, you should also be mindful of reinforcing the vision, values and purpose of the business, as well as identifying key goals, targets, timelines and required resources.

Why is this important? Imagine you are setting off on a journey to a place you are visiting for the first time. The chances are you would not set off blindly without consulting a map or plugging the details into your GPS to avoid getting lost. You would want to know exactly how you are going to get there. For small organisations strategic planning is like that map. An effective strategic plan articulates where you’re heading and how to get there. It identifies the signposts along the way that keep you on track. It will tell you who is responsible for steering the organisation in the right direction and making things happen, and the human and financial resources needed to make them happen. Without a strategic plan, good ideas mean very little and passion and commitment to the cause can quickly fizzle out. Recently I was asked to complete a review of an Indigenous aged care and disability project. One thing struck me immediately. Although the organizations involved had a commitment to the concept of a community outreach service for Indigenous people, a lack of strategic planning meant that this vision had little chance of succeeding. 22

There were good intentions but no plan. There were no strategies in place for accessing Indigenous communities and developing Indigenous leadership in the project. There were no specific objectives and no clear idea of the personnel and money needed to make things happen and sustain the initiative. The recommendations in the review emphasised that these things needed to be done. Without careful planning, goals and time frames can sometimes be unrealistic and doom the project to failure. For example, tackling Indigenous disadvantage by 2015 is too big for any small organisation but increasing the school participation of Indigenous children at local primary schools in the next year is more achievable. Mohammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank, started his bank for the poor lending $17 to women in one village in Bangladesh. Grameen Bank now lends money to millions of Bangladeshis. Yunus stresses the importance of starting small, of focusing on the needs of the local community. If the project or business is successful it can be scaled up. Getting the focus right comes down to strategic planning. Of course plans are not set in concrete. They can and should be modified and changed as experience dictates. Although well made plans are no substitute for action, they are necessary in order to get the action right.

BlackBiz Indigenous Business Magazine - issue #01 November 2011

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2011 Ethnic Business Award Winner and Finalists

Complete Workwear Services Pty Ltd

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Message Stick Communications Pty Ltd

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BlackBiz Issue 01  

Australian Indigenous Business Magazine

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