Business bulletin - 5 November 2015

Record attendance for October Business Month

A record number of Northern Territory business people have taken advantage of the latest and greatest October Business Month (OBM).

More than 9,300 people attended 183 OBM events in 2015, eclipsing the previous record of 9,005 attendees set last year.

OBM this year attracted the largest and most prestigious list of inspirational keynote speakers in more than two decades, with strong focus on women in leadership, Indigenous business, finance, marketing, social media, business technology and business in Asia.

Highlights included renowned chef and restaurateur Matt Moran, author and Editor in Chief of Collect Magazine Lisa Messenger, founder of RedBalloon Naomi Simson and motivational business speaker Li Cunxin otherwise known as Mao's Last Dancer.

Minister for Business Peter Styles said the event was widely considered as the Territory's premier business event.

It has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1994 when it was originally known as Small Business Month with 699 people attending 12 organised events.”It has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1994 when it was originally known as Small Business Month with 699 people attending 12 organised events."

North Australia on the agenda

This weekend's Northern Australian Investment Forum (NAIF) will provide an opportunity for major investors to investigate current and future investment prospects in Northern Australia.

The forum is an Australian Trade Commission event running 8 to 10 November, supported by the NT Government, showcasing the best of what the NT has to offer in produce and investment opportunities.

Federal Minster Andrew Robb and representatives from government, industry and NGOs will meet to reach agreement on key development, investment and trade issues during the forum.

A wash up on all announcements and activities from the NAIF will be available in the next edition of the Business Bulletin.

Entrepreneurs of the future

Territory students have been recognised for their outstanding achievement in business and enterprise courses as part of the 2015 Northern Territory Youth Business Awards.

The awards aim to promote the involvement of secondary students in small business education and bring together industry and education to participate in the ongoing development of small business education.

The following recipients have received awards for:

  • Operating a business - Winner: Victoria Soto and Stevie Klose from Darwin High School for their business 'Shake Shack Gourmet'.
  • Operating a business - Runner up: Kathleen Brigden and Madison Rigby from Good Shepherd Lutheran College for their business 'Brewed Awakening'.
  • Developing an operational plan - Winner: Niamh Marah from The Essington School for a prospective business to be called 'Partners in Grime'.
  • Developing an operational plan - Runner up: Charlotte Nheu from Darwin High School for a prospective business to be called 'Dolce & Acido'.

Darwin High School has been awarded with a perpetual trophy for the Overall Winner category.

The Department of Education and the Department of Business worked together to deliver this year’s Youth Business Awards, as part of October Business Month.

Young lawyer leads the way

Darwin-based Kevin Kadirgamar has taken out the national 2015 Australian Young Lawyer Award for his outstanding pro bono work in the areas of migration and refugee law.

The Ward Keller lawyer has undertaken considerable work with asylum seekers in Australia.

After forming a professional relationship with Julian Burnside QC, Mr Kardirgamar has been pivotal in a broad range of cases.

Managing Partner of Ward Keller, Leon Loganathan, said the achievement was another example of a Territorian punching well and truly above his weight.

"The Territory has always been the land of opportunity, with a positive attitude and a bold vision, we can achieve anything here," he said.

"Ward Keller has produced its fair share of leaders over the years, from the Northern Territory's first Supreme Court judge, Justice Ross Mallam; Dick Ward, who was a judge and legislator; former Chief Magistrate, Hugh Bradley; Chief Justice, Trevor Riley; Magistrate, John Neill; the Territory's youngest MLA, Lia Finocchiaro; and Greg Phelps, Partner at Ward Keller and National President of the Australian Lawyers Association.

"Kevin Kadirgamar now joins that long list of distinguished talent," he said.

Law Council of Australia President Duncan McConnel said Mr Kadirgamar’s work had been extraordinary.

"Kevin’s indefatigable efforts have given some of the community's most vulnerable the ability to access justice and legal help," Mr McConnel said.

Kevin’s work to date emphatically demonstrates how a lawyer’s efforts can result in justice that can fundamentally change the course of a client’s life.”Kevin’s work to date emphatically demonstrates how a lawyer’s efforts can result in justice that can fundamentally change the course of a client’s life."

Aboriginal Employment Grants

Applications are now open for grants through the Aboriginal Employment Initiatives program. 

Grants of up to $250,000 may be offered for projects that support sustainable jobs, encourage labour coordination and mobility or fill a gap in existing funding.

Department of Business Chief Executive Michael Tennant said the Aboriginal Employment Initiatives grant round was aimed at increasing Aboriginal workforce participation across the Territory.

"We’ve streamlined the way we deliver four separate grant programs to make it simpler and easier to access for our clients," Michael said. 

"The application process includes a single point of entry."

Projects that can be funded through the grants will address one of three areas:

  • Sustainable jobs: projects that support organisations to sustainably employ Aboriginal Territorians.
  • Labour coordination and mobilisation: projects that increase job opportunities through labour coordination and worker mobility by supporting Territory business and industry to meet current and emerging labour needs with an appropriately skilled Aboriginal workforce.
  • Gap funding: projects that will build sustainability into a new initiative to ensure its continuity or complement activities supported by other government programs.

"Over the last three years grants through these programs have helped 687 individuals achieve jobs or stay in employment and advance in their careers," Mr Tennant said. 

Applications for Aboriginal Employment Initiatives grants are open until midday on Tuesday 15 December.

Bump, Bub and Beyond Expo

An army of Darwin mumtrepreneurs will be out in force this weekend, peddling their wares at the Bump, Bub and Beyond Expo in Palmerston.

Pegged as a one-stop-shop for all things from pregnancy to parenthood, and boasting 130 stalls run by small local businesses and community groups, the expo showcases the work of local entrepreneurs, many of them stay-at-home mums.

Organiser Danielle Andreoli said the expo provided access to information and services, as well as product offerings, mostly handmade by local mums.

"We run this expo to showcase local mums and the talent we have in Darwin, there is so much hidden talent here."

She said many small businesses were started by parents wanting to prolong their time at home with their own children.  

"It’s a very positive movement at the moment, mums who don't want to go back to work and they're thinking outside the box, 'What can I do to make my passion an income?'."

She said locally made baby products provided a positive alternative to going to large commercial outlets.

It’s so hard to get good clothes in Darwin, so it’s nice to know something is handmade and someone has put a bit of love into it.” It’s so hard to get good clothes in Darwin, so it’s nice to know something is handmade and someone has put a bit of love into it."

Ms Andreoli said the expo was put together by a team of eight supermums who all juggle kids and work.

"We’ve managed to pull off a small miracle."

Alter Ego takes centre stage 

If you missed her retrospective at October Business Month, you haven't run out of chances to sample the latest offerings from local Darwin fashion designer Matilda Alegria.

Alegria’s latest collection, 'Alter Ego' will hit the catwalk at the Darwin Convention Centre on Saturday 14 November.

She says running a fashion business in the Top End, far from the bright lights of established fashion centres, is important to her.

"It's not a huge industry here obviously but it’s growing.

"Last year's event was so unique for Darwin, and people felt like they were in New York."

She says one of her goals with a large-scale event like this is to showcase local talent across the arts.

"This year's Alter Ego showcase features some renowned artists, Franck Gohier from Red Hand Prints doing graphics to suit the theme of the event, and James Mangohig who's a Darwin lad and one half of Sietta is performing the music for the show."

Alegria says a runway event takes a full year to produce, requiring her to work beyond her core occupation of fashion design.

"I source the sponsors, contributors and artists, do the philanthropic side of things, plus event manage and do all the organisation of the styling of the show."

"I also source my material, fabrics and designs, draft the patterns and make them, find the models and take care of the media."

"I'm starting at 5.30am and an early night is 9pm, it’s ridiculous hours but it’s rewarding."

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Last updated: 22 April 2016