Tiffany Tento, Queensland Council of Social Service

There has been a great growth in the number of successful Indigenous entrepreneurs and community-based enterprises across Australia over the last decade. The estimated number of self-employed Indigenous people has risen from 4,600 in 1991 to 12,500 in 2011. These initiatives are creating prosperity for individuals and communities across Australia.

The Australian Government – for the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse – has commissioned research into what factors contribute to or inhibit the success of Indigenous businesses and community-based enterprises.

The term ‘community-based enterprise’ has been used to refer to businesses that have a more communal purpose (they are also known as ‘community-managed’ and ‘social’ enterprises), making this resource of interest to the community services sector.

The research and case studies examined for this resource sheet explore practices that have helped Indigenous businesses and community-based enterprises as well as the barriers to business success.

Where possible, it also looks at the outcomes of government programs that have aimed to help these different types of Indigenous businesses.

The paper highlights strategies for ensuring the success of Indigenous initiatives as well as opportunities to better foster the development of this important sector.

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