Indigenous Small Businesses in the Australian Indigenous Economy

Indigenous Small Businesses in the Australian Indigenous Economy Book Section

Engaging Indigenous Economics Conference: Debating Diverse Approaches

  • Author(s): Collins, J., Morrison, M., Krivokapic-Skoko, B., Butler R., Basu, P.K.
  • Secondary Author(s): Sanders, W
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: ANU EPress

Abstract: One of the most significant developments in the Australian Indigenous Economy the last decade has been an increasing growth in the importance of Indigenous enterprises and Indigenous entrepreneurs. There are many pathways to Indigenous entrepreneurship in Australia: partnerships between corporate Australia and Indigenous corporations/communities; Indigenous community-owned enterprises; Indigenous social enterprises and Co-operatives and Indigenous private enterprises. This paper reviews recent research on Indigenous private enterprises in the small business sector of the Australian economy to think about a number of conceptual issues related to Indigenous economic development. Specifically it draws on qualitative and quantitative research with 366 male and female Indigenous entrepreneurs in small businesses in all States and Territ01ies of Australia apart from Tasmania conducted between 2012 to 2014. The fieldwork was designed, in part, to assess (I) whether Indigenous culture and Indigenous social relations within the family and community constrains or enhances the economic activity of Indigenous enterprises in the small business sector, and (2) how Indigenous enterprises seek to contribute to their communities through a range of non-monetised activities and how this differs across urban, regional and remote locations and across business type. Our findings suggest that what emerges is a version of Altman's notion of a 'hybrid economy' whereby the market intersects with customary obligations, and Indigenous social relations in shaping the dynamics of this form of Indigenous entrepreneurship, with Altman's third sector, the state, playing a relatively minor role for Indigenous small business entrepreneurs compared to other Indigenous enterprises. We find significant differences in a range of community contributions across location and business type, indicating that the extent of the hybrid economy generated through the efforts of Indigenous businesses is greater in urban and regional areas and where businesses are predominantly community owned.

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Suggested Citation
Collins, J., Morrison, M., Krivokapic-Skoko, B., Butler R., Basu, P.K., 2016, Indigenous Small Businesses in the Australian Indigenous Economy, Book Section, viewed 19 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=2806.

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