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IBI works to further cause

AN institute to further the cause of indigenous businesses is about to embark on a major membership drive.

The Indigenous Business Institute has been running for three years and already has attracted 130 members. It registered as a not-for-profit organisation in February.

IBI director Sarina Jan believes there could be up to 5,000 indigenous businesses in WA that could join.

The institute aims to provide business assistance and advice to businesses, to offer networking, mentoring and linkage services and help non-indigenous businesses better understand Aboriginal communities.

For example, there are several key stakeholders involved in an Aboriginal community – the traditional owners of the land, the Native Title claimants, the community leaders and the community elders.

In some cases one person can fill several of these roles. In others it can be several different people.

The IBI has held a number of key functions this year, with Rosalyn Jordan, mother of US basketball star Michael Jordan, keynote speaker at one of them.

Ms Jan said she hoped the institute could improve networking and joint venture opportunities between indigenous and non-indigenous businesses.

She also wants the institute to improve the professional standards and conduct of indigenous businesses.

“There is an estimated $300 million spent in the indigenous affairs area in the past three years but indigenous businesses have not even been getting 1 per cent of the work,” Ms Jan said.

“I would like to see the Government make it more attractive for indigenous businesses to tender for contracts, particularly in the indigenous affairs area.”

The institute also hopes to become a research centre for indigenous businesses.

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