5th Indigenous business forum opens in Darwin

Indigenous Development Minister, Malarndirri McCarthy, today opened the 5th Indigenous Economic Development (IED) Forum – ‘Working Toward a Strong Future’ - at the Darwin Convention Centre.

Minister McCarthy said the two-day forum hosted by the Territory Government gives Indigenous businesses the opportunity to build, support and strengthen their products and services.

“The forum aims to provide Indigneous businesses with the business appropriate tools to build partnerships, increase their networks, and to develop their capacity to achieve sustainable economic activity in the Territory’s Indigenous business sector,” said Minister McCarthy.

“I also welcome the international delegations from Alaska and New Zealand to the forum.”

A highlight of the forum is the Indigenous Business Expo which features business products and services from 4pm-6:30pm.

"I encourage everyone to come along to the Expo tonight – it is a unique and exciting opportunity to experience bush tucker tasting, hear fantastic desert reggae and see firsthand the diverse range of Indigenous business products and services,” said Minister McCarthy.

Key note speakers include:

  • Helvi Sandvik– President of NANA Development Corporation (NDC), Anchorage, Alaska (member of United States National Minority Supplier Diversity Council).
  • Neil Willmett – Chairman of the Indigenous Business Council of Australia (IBCA), Managing Director - Willmett Group, author of the book ‘How to Start a Successful Aboriginal Business in Australia’ and former Director of the Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council (AIMSC).
  • Ifor Ffowcs-Williams– Chief Executive Officer – Cluster Navigators, New Zealand. Since establishing Cluster Navigators in 1997, Ifor has been active globally in introducing clustering as a cornerstone for economic development.
  • Michael McLeod – Chief Executive Officer – Message Stick. Michael and his family are part of Australia’s Stolen Generations. Refusing employment benefits and Aboriginal housing benefits he started his own niche telecommunications business. Today is a growing multimillion dollar business, highly profitable and has no debt.


To find out more visit www.workingfuture.nt.gov.au