Business bulletin - 17 November 2016


Drawing of light bulb plugged into a wall socket with the cord spelling out 'Innovation

Businesses in the Northern Territory have a greater opportunity to turn their innovative ideas into reality following major funding announcement.

The Northern Territory Government has announced an additional $1 million for Business Innovation Support Initiatives (BISI) to support innovation in small businesses. The expanded range of initiatives will help Territory businesses undertake research and development that could lead to new products, processes or services.

The NT Government will also provide $250,000 in new funding to any Territory enterprise successful through the Australian Government Incubator Support Program to help innovative start-ups transform ideas into business models.

"Supporting and driving innovation in Territory business is crucial - it helps create new economic opportunities and jobs for Territorians by diversifying the economy and improving business competitiveness," Chief Minister Michael Gunner said.

Mr Gunner said the $250,000 to support any Territory enterprise successful through the Australian Government Incubator Support Program would include help for a not-for-profit enterprise to establish a business incubator in either Darwin or Alice Springs.

"We want to partner with local enterprises to drive innovation in the Territory," Mr Gunner said.

“Supporting the development of an incubator here in the Territory is one way we can do this.

Incubators help innovative start-ups transform their ideas into internationally competitive businesses through mentorship, funding, resources, knowledge and access to business networks.

The funding contribution means the Northern Territory will contribute up to $250,000 towards the establishment of an incubator, in addition to up to $500,000 on offer from the Australian Government.

For more information on the Federal Government Incubator Support Program go to the National Innovation and Science Agenda website.

To find out more about the BISI program go to the Norther Territory Government website.

Road train with three trailers

A small Territory freight company is broadening their horizons with the addition of a new weekly service to Nhulunbuy.

Nighthawk Transport is based in Darwin and Katherine and services communities across the Top End, including the Roper River region, Timber Creek and Borroloola.

The freight company had visited Nhulunbuy periodically, however the regular road freight service ceased several years ago.

Nighthawk Transport Director Jocelyn Dunning travelled to Gove last month to participate in Nhulunbuy Business Week to see if there was demand for a weekly road freight service between Darwin and Nhulunbuy.

"I spent three days visiting local businesses during Nhulunbuy Business Week and speaking to people to see if a service was something the local community were interested in," Ms Dunning said.

"I received a lot of positive feedback and it didn’t surprise me that the Nhulunbuy community were interested in another freight option, other than solely relying on the barge."

Nhulunbuy Business Week included seven days of events, workshops and training to support, inspire and assist the local business community to grow.

It was during one of the bigger events of the week, the Business Market Day, where Jocelyn made some important connections.

"The market day helped me connect with locals that I had not been able to get around to see. It also gave our business exposure to the Nhulunbuy public, that I would not have otherwise had a chance to meet," Ms Dunning said.

Due to the interest from the community Nighthawk commenced a weekly service, with the first freight departing Darwin on 28 October.

"At this stage we are only transporting dry freight, after the wet season we would like to set up a refrigerated service if this is something that the community requires," Ms Dunning said.

"The wet season will provide some challenges but the great thing about Nhulunbuy is that they do have the barge.

"When I was in Nhulunbuy I spoke to local businesses about these challenges and they understand on some weeks we might not get out there. However, as long weather conditions are clear and the roads are dry we will ensure deliveries will be made on time and in good condition."

Heimo Schober of Keep Australia Beautiful Council NT sitting at his desk

Local not-for-profit organisation, the Keep Australia Beautiful Council NT, has made the successful leap into the digital world thanks to the Business Growth Program.

Keep Australia Beautiful Council NT (KABCNT) CEO Heimo Schober had identified a few areas of his organisation that needed some extra attention, in particular marketing, computer and media technology.

"As a one person operation, it’s impracticable to achieve all the necessary business tasks and needs, particularly with the speed and multitudes of business technology changes occurring in our world today.

"I reached out to the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation earlier this year and sought advice on how I could improve business performance and strengthen KABCNT."

Under the Business Growth Program a team of experts from Slim Digital were brought in to conduct an operational overview of the organisation, examine operational environment and practices and identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Following this review Slim Digital developed a business strategy that incorporated marketing, digital communications and social media.

"With target audience in mind and business goals clearly identified, we were able to develop and design a new website," Mr Schober said.

"The design also incorporated updated technologies from smartphones, wireless devices and cloud software systems and also included an enewsletter into the system."

Ongoing assistance through the Business Growth Program was made available after the initial consultation and implementation of the business plan to ensure KABCNT continued to thrive and reach their targets.

"The Business Growth Program has certainly been a massive boost that has positively recharged and improved our organisation’s business," Mr Schober said.

"Slim Digital’s advice and input towards improving the organisation has also been invaluable and I appreciate the assistance this program has provided our not-for-profit organisation," he said.

For more information about the business support programs go to the website.

NT Training Award winners being presented their certificates and plaques

Ten of the Northern Territory’s finest vocational education and training participants will compete with the nation’s best at the Australian Training Awards tonight.

The Australian Training Awards recognise and celebrate organisations, and individuals for their outstanding contribution to the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector.

The Department of Trade, Business and Innovation’s Director of Skills Policy, Deb Carr said the National Training Awards provide a national platform like no other, for finalists to launch their careers and businesses.

"For individual finalists it can open up network and career opportunities. The awards also set businesses and organisations apart from other competitors and position them as an employer or registered training organisation of choice.

"The Northern Territory VET sector plays an integral role in the economic growth of the Territory; both for the development of the local workforce and in developing and supporting a major export industry," Ms Carr said.

Gone are the days of VET being considered something just for young people. In fact, the seven finalists come from a range of backgrounds and levels of experience.

From school students training for their first job, to established workers changing career paths or upgrading their qualifications, VET is available to all Territorians.

"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year, Dawn Ivinson is a great example. VET has opened up new pathways for her to specialise and advance her career," Ms Carr said.

"Dawn has spent the last nine years working with vulnerable children and families. She is passionate about her work and during this time completed VET courses to broaden her knowledge and build her career.

"Last October, Dawn completed a graduate certificate in Community Services Practice - Client Assessment and Case Management, and Statutory Child Protection. She now plans to move into a managerial stream where she can make more of a difference in her community and mentor others."

NT Medium Employer of the Year, Pro Build NT is another finalist who has made an impact within the local VET sector.

Probuild NT was established as a family business in Alice Springs 23 years ago and has grown to open a second office in Darwin, now delivering projects across the Territory.

"Over the past couple of years Probuild has worked hard to make training a priority, of its 57 employees, around 9% are actively engaged in training," Ms Carr said.

"In the past three years, the company has taken on eight apprentices in Carpentry and Civil Operations, six of whom are still employed full-time."

The Australian Training Awards are held in Darwin tonight for the first time since 2008.

For information about the awards go to the Australian Training Awards website.

The Northern Territory finalists for an individual award are:

  • Australian Apprentice of the Year Ms Ella Cavallaro
  • Australian Apprentice (Trainee) of the Year - Ms Neda Aleksic
  • Vocational Student of the Year - Ms Ashlee Coleman
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year - Ms Dawn Ivinson, NT
  • Australian School-Based Apprentice of the Year - Ms Dimiti Andresen
  • VET Teacher / Trainer of the Year - Mr Liam Fraser
  • Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice - Ms Isobel Osuna-Gatty.

The Northern Territory finalists for organisation awards are:

  • Medium Employer of the Year - Probuild (NT) Pty Ltd
  • Large Employer of the Year - The Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation
  • Large Training Provider of the Year - Batchelor Institute.

Young Achiever Awards

Do you know a young Territorian who is achieving great result or making a difference in their local community?

If so, you still have time to nominate them today for the NT Young Achiever Awards.

Each year the awards seek out and highlight the incredible achievements of young individuals that create a sense of pride, unity and inspiration through their role modelling to the wider community.

In 2016, 12 young Territorians were recognised for their achievements across a range of fields including, community service, youth leadership, arts, sports, business, health, education, and the environment to name a few.

Ryan Gaskon of Alice Springs received the Glencore McArthur River Mining Regional and Rural Initiative Award in 2016.

The 18-year-old has been heavily involved in his local community via the YMCA as a climbing instructor and is passionate about promoting tourism in Alice Springs region.

More notably, Ryan was involved in the initial developments of the Red Centre Nats. The event has since grown and become a fixed annual event that has helped increased tourism to the community and boosted the economy.

Ryan said winning the award was unexpected and highlighted the contribution of those who’ve been involved in development of the Northern Territory.

"I felt incredibly honoured to be recognised for my contributions, but at the same time I know there are many people contributing in their own way, and I hope that they too can get the same recognition in the near future," he said.

Following the completion of his Tertiary studies Ryan is plan on returning to Alice Springs and work in the adventure tourism industry, showcasing the Northern Territory to national and international tourists.

Nominations for the NT Young Achiever Award remain are open until 13 December, categories include:

  • Minister for Territory Families Excellence in Youth Leadership Award
  • Somerville Community Service Award
  • The Coffee Club Fashion Award
  • Genesee and Wyoming Australia Indigenous Achievement Award
  • NT Government Young Indigenous Educator Award
  • Charles Darwin University Arts Award
  • NT Government Young Carers Award
  • Zip Print Sport Award
  • NT Government Small Business Achievement Award
  • ConocoPhillips Environment Award
  • Glencore McArthur River Mining Regional and Rural Initiative Award
  • PTTEP Australasia Health and Wellbeing Award.

The Department of Trade, Business and Innovation are proud sponsors of the NT Government Small Business Achievement Award.

Category winners will each receive $2,000, the 2017 NT Young Achiever will receive an additional $2,000.

The awards will be held at SkyCity Darwin on 1 April 2017.

For more information or to nominate online go to Northern Territory Young Achiever Awards.

First home buyer purchasing an established home, to apply or view the terms and conditions, visit

Last updated: 10 July 2019

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