Business bulletin: 8 October 2020


Dave Neenan presenting at OBM in Nhulunbuy
Caption: OBM Territory success story Dave Neenan of Gove Rentals and Mechanicals.

October Business Month (OBM) is well underway with Nhulunbuy the first stop for the Territory Grown Roadshow.

Day one kicked off with Gail Kelly from the Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission and representatives from the East Arnhem Economic Reconstruction outlining the Economic Roadmap for East Arnhem.

The panel talked about major projects in the region ranging from roads and rocket launches. The changing economic landscape of East Arnhem was also highlighted with a fresh focus on tourist facilities and cultural experiences in conjunction with Yolngu communities.

There was practical and real world tips for starting and growing your business delivered by the Business Enterprise Centre NT while Outlook Psychology held a workshop about mental health in the workplace and the less obvious signs of depression, anxiety and overwhelm in your staff and colleagues.

Day two was all about grants, tenders and making sure you are putting everything into your grant and tender responses that need to be there.

Our local success stories inspired audiences and shared their knowledge and tips on growing a successful business in the Territory.

Manapan Furniture, based on Milingimbi is a self-efficient and self-funded company owned by Yolngu people. They have received world-wide acclaim for their beautiful furniture designs with several of their pieces bought by major corporations and institutions such as ANZ and Monash University.

Their story of community development and business self-sufficiency reinforced that running a business around its core principals and sustainability will lead to ongoing success.

Dave Neenan of Gove Rentals and Mechanicals talked about the keys to running a successful business - implementing good businesses processes, delivering a high quality of work and investing in great workers can take a small family business to a key employer in the region.

“Don’t be known as the cheapest in town, be known as the best,” Dave said.

OBM is in Tennant Creek this week, with another strong line up of events, workshops and speakers, including the future of business planning, the state of social media in 2020/21, Facebook, Instagram and regional tourism, tender writing and business networking at sunset.

Registrations for OBM events in Katherine, Alice Springs and Darwin are open.

To find out what’s on in your region, go to the OBM website.

Tourisms on segways

Applications are now open for the Northern Territory Government’s Book Now - Digital Support Program which offers eligible tourism businesses grants of up to $5,000 in matched funding to deliver business improvements that will make it easier for consumers to book online.

The $400,000 program aims to help tourism businesses evaluate their online presence and implement changes.

Each eligible tourism business will undertake an online assessment, which will be further analysed by Tourism NT. The assessment will test:

  • ease of booking via website
  • sales mechanisms via social media platforms
  • digital marketing to drive conversion
  • online reputation management
  • effective booking platform/channel manager.

Being instantly bookable is a critical element of meeting customer expectations.

According to a recent Phocuswright study, 50.6% of Australian consumers are booking their travel online, suggesting that if businesses are not offering simple booking processes via their websites or social platforms including Google, Facebook and Instagram, they could be missing out on close to half of their potential revenue.

Applications for the Book Now Digital Support Program close 30 October 2020.

To find out more, tourism businesses are encouraged to attend the regional October Business Month events, where you can meet with the team from Tourism NT, or go to the Tourism NT website.


New upgrades to the online Territory Jobs Hub will simplify the recruitment process for local employers and help Territory job seekers return to work more quickly.

Territory employers now have the ability to post job vacancies on the Territory Jobs Hub for free.

The job posting mode also includes a ‘smart match’ feature which takes information from the job posting and matches it to suitable applicants. Those applicants receive a notification of a new job posting to their device and have the option to apply.

Until now, employers using the site would have to manually search for the skills and experience they needed and then send a connection request to suitable job seekers.

These new enhanced features will cut down the time employers spend looking for workers and connect them with to right job seeker immediately.

Using the ‘smart match’ function will also help reduce the administration work for employers during the recruitment stage.

The Territory Jobs Hub was launched in March 2020 to support workers impacted by COVID-19 to connect with local businesses to find work quickly.

The online platform helped digitalise the recruitment process and overcome the interruption from COVID-19.

Since then it has grown into an online community for Territory employers and Territory job seekers to connect directly and stay connected.

The Territory Jobs Hub has helped more than 170 businesses connect with job-seekers and more than 2,600 Territorians connect with a job.

Access to the site has been extended until March 2021 and is free to use by Territory employers and job seekers.

To access the jobs hub, go to the Territory Jobs Hub website.

Aerial view of Palmerston CBD

The extension of the myDarwin voucher scheme to other parts of the Northern Territory (NT) is proving to be a big hit with consumers and business.

Litchfield Council put $40,000 towards the scheme and the Territory Government kicked in a further $140,000 to encourage people in the rural area to support local businesses.

Vouchers can be spent at a range of registered businesses, including retail and hospitality.

The myLitchfield program has been open for businesses to register from 23 September and open for customers from 30 September.

Hundreds of customers and a host of businesses have signed up.

“This program is really important, especially during these difficult times for small businesses,” says Litchfield Council Mayor Maree Bredhauer.

“MyLitchfield encourages increased visits and spending at local businesses through the discount voucher system.

“This is sure to be a great boost to the Litchfield municipality economy and local businesses.

“This is a great opportunity for Litchfield Council to work with the NT Government to support our local businesses.”

The scheme has also been extended to Palmerston following the success of the myDarwin pilot program, which was initiated by the City of Darwin.

City of Palmerston is investing $60,000 with the Territory Government committing a further $160,000.

City of Palmerston Mayor Athina Pascoe-Bell says “We are delighted to launch this local business initiative in Palmerston.

“City of Palmerston has implemented this scheme to promote economic growth within the Palmerston community during these challenging times.

“It is great that we can achieve this by also rewarding consumers with discount vouchers, which will be accessible from 29 September. Coupled with our on-going free parking within the city centre, this scheme is another great reason for people to shop in Palmerston.

“The scheme is free for businesses and customers to participate and I encourage everyone to get on board.”

Students socialising

A new round of support for international students living in the Northern Territory is now available with the release of the 2020-21 International Student Wellbeing Grants Program.

Local businesses, student groups and community organisations are now invited to apply for up to $10,000 in funding for activities and events that promote and improve the wellbeing of international students studying in the Territory.

The International Student Wellbeing grants are designed to enrich a student’s life outside the classroom by way of connecting to the Territory’s community, history and culture, and by learning skills and strategies that support mental health, physical safety and employment.

In July 2020, there were 4,329 international students enrolled in the Territory. Analysis undertaken by Deloitte in 2019 shows each student contributes an average of $40,693 to the economy each year.

Attracting higher numbers of international students to the Territory is a key focus to grow and diversify the economy.

Student wellbeing is vital for growth in the international education and training sector and a key pillar in the international education and training strategy. A positive experience shared by students has ongoing impacts in attracting further student to the Territory.

Applications close on Monday 2 November 2020.

To submit an application, go to GrantsNT.

For further information please email or phone 08 8999 6395.

Woman wearing Frillneck headgear
Caption: Frillneck’s sun-protection clothing is attracting interest from a host of people who work and play outdoors.

Keen recreational angler Steve Ludwig feared his innovative export idea would be killed off by COVID-19.

But a Territory Government initiative has given the entrepreneur great faith in the future.

Darwin-born Steve has a range of sun-protection clothing under the brand Frillneck and produces everything from fingerless gloves to headgear.

Customers are mainly anglers, but he’s also finding an increased following among kayakers, birdwatchers, hikers, outdoor council workers, field geologists, field scientists in the Antarctic, roofers, gardeners and anyone else who works outdoors.

The clothing brand uses Aboriginal art.

Steve’s company, Frillneck Australia, buys the rights to the artwork and the artists receive a percentage of every sale, whether wholesale or retail.

Frillneck was exported to France, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, the United States, Noumea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Spain, Italy, Croatia and Thailand via ecommerce before the COVID-19 lockdown.

Frillneck Australia has taken part in major trade shows, such as the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades in Florida - the largest recreational fishing trade show in the world.

Steve had a free online Business Health Check, which is part of an export recovery and growth program developed by the Northern Territory Government, business advisory company Deloitte and the Business Enterprise Centre.

The check involved a ‘scoping interview’ with Deloitte experts and an in-depth study.

In addition to reviewing overall business trading conditions, the business experts advised Steve to re-establish an effective manufacturing and supply line post-COVID-19, reduce his range and concentrate on best-sellers and free up warehouse space by selling excess stock.

“It was excellent advice - I found the whole process, including the final recommendations, very helpful and simple.”

He urges other businesses to use the health check.

Territory exporters who want further information about the Online Business Health Check initiative should call TradeNT on 08 8946 9553, email or go to the Business Health Check.

Last updated: 08 October 2020

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