Australian Indigenous Entrepreneurship: Lessons for Success

Shoebridge, A. and Buultjens, J. and Singh-Peterson, L. ORCID: (2011) Australian Indigenous Entrepreneurship: Lessons for Success. In: 34th Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference: Sustainable Futures: Enterprising Landscapes and Communities (ISBE 2011), 9 Nov - 10 Nov 2011, Sheffield, United Kingdom.

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Objectives Indigenous Australian peoples suffer considerable and entrenched economic and social disadvantage. To overcome this, they are being encouraged to engage in the mainstream economy by becoming entrepreneurs. This paper reports on research which investigated characteristics of Indigenous entrepreneurs in Northern New South Wales, Australia; and identified factors which promoted, and those which hindered their entrepreneurial endeavours. Prior Work This research formed the basis of an honours thesis (first class) by Amanda Shoebridge, supervised by Associate Professor Jeremy Buultjens, who has authored research in this and related fields. Approach A qualitative research approach guided by a social constructivist paradigm was adopted in order to comprehend findings from the perspective of participants. In-depth interviews were conducted with four successful Indigenous entrepreneurs and case studies were built utilising secondary data to establish an understanding of the businesses, and the issues faced by the entrepreneurs. Results Participants were found to possess characteristics of confidence, strong self-determination and ambition, and a desire to achieve. The role and influence of family, spouses and other role models were important determinants of entrepreneurial success, as were access to financial capital and established business networks. Above average education levels, prior industry experience and the assistance of mentors were found to positively influence success. Lacking access to financial capital was a major hindrance. Participants found government assistance programs confusing, unwieldy and difficult to access. Other hindrances included the presence of racism and discrimination; and difficulties reconciling business needs with the requests and needs of family, culture and community. Implications These findings support existing literature and suggest that previous measures taken to assist entrepreneurial development amongst Indigenous Australians have largely been ineffective. There is a need, amongst other things, to simplify and effectively target assistance programs to ensure benefits are realised. Our results highlight the dire necessity to address the disadvantaged position of Indigenous Australians. While great discrepancies in health and education remain between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, while racism and discrimination is prevalent, and while the majority of Indigenous Australians remain disempowered as a result of past injustices, this study suggests there will be limited successful Indigenous entrepreneurship in Australia. Value Firm understanding of the facilitators and hindrances to Indigenous entrepreneurial success should underpin the development of more effective strategies and assistance programs to cultivate successful Indigenous entrepreneurship

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2022 02:02
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2022 02:02
Fields of Research (2008): 14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140202 Economic Development and Growth
16 Studies in Human Society > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169902 Studies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Society
Fields of Research (2020): 45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4505 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, society and community > 450505 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and regional development
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4404 Development studies > 440407 Socio-economic development
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): B Economic Development > 91 Economic Framework > 9199 Other Economic Framework > 919999 Economic Framework not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 21 INDIGENOUS > 2199 Other Indigenous > 219999 Other Indigenous not elsewhere classified
15 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 1599 Other economic framework > 159999 Other economic framework not elsewhere classified

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