Business bulletin - 15 June 2017


Headshot of Vanessa Carusi

Vanessa Carusi understands the challenges and complexities that local Territory businesses face better than most - she’s a Territorian brought up in a family of self-made business people.

She "speaks the same language" as those who live and work tirelessly in their business to achieve the common goal of success for themselves and their families.

That makes Vanessa a perfect choice as one of the NT Government’s Small Business Champions.

It’s a Department of Trade, Business and Innovation initiative to help small business not only survive but thrive.

And it’s free.

Vanessa sees herself as a "conduit" - a vital connection between business owners and those who are considering starting out in business through the myriad of government agencies and help on hand.

"Business people are very busy and often haven’t had the time to find out where to go for help," she said. "That’s where I come in - they can contact me and I will explain all the services available and how they can access them.

"I will put them in touch with the right people.

"It’s incredible how much support small business people can get if they know where to look."

Vanessa can help businesses identify the type of assistance they need including participating in the Business Growth Program. The program offers financial assistance to engage suitably qualified consultants to deliver improvement strategies such as business and marketing plans, business mentoring, identifying business technology or how to write a winning tender.

Another program, Aboriginal Business Development, helps Aboriginal Territorians entering or expanding commercial business arrangements that will develop employment and income opportunities.

Small Business Champions are the key point of contact for NT business, if you are looking to get into business or looking to improve their profitability, sustainability or capability.

The champions have an extensive network of contacts, information, tools and resources to help business development and sustainability and should be your first point of call.

Vanessa worked in finance for 20 years before becoming a Small Business Champion.

"I’ve got a genuine interest in helping small business become successful," she said.

"I think the Small Business Champion initiative is a fantastic way to help business succeed and grow."

If you would like to discuss ways to help your business to start, run and grow contact our Small Business Champions team on 08 8999 5479.

Train on a railway track at sunset

Territory companies seeking to grow their business through exports or by attracting new investment may be eligible for funding under the Trade Support Scheme.

Executive Director for the Office of Asian Engagement Trade and Investment, Scott Wauchope said, "The Trade Support Scheme (TSS) aims to build stronger trading partnerships, create new export opportunities. We also have services that may directly support business wishing to grow and attract investment.

"Under TSS, eligible businesses can receive financial support to offset the cost of international marketing activities including trade exhibition and conferences, marketing and promotional material, web design and training."

The department also works with Territory companies to become investor ready. Support from the department can include facilitating introductions to potential business partners, leading investment missions to priority interstate and overseas markets and provide assistance in hosting prospective investors in the NT.

"By assisting local companies to secure productive foreign and domestic investment, we are also growing our industry capacity to enter new markets, stimulating economic development and creating jobs," Mr Wauchope said.

TradeNT and InvestNT officers will be in Nhulunbuy on 22 June; Katherine on 26 and 27 June; Tennant Creek on 28 June; and Alice Springs on 29 and 30 June to meet with businesses and discuss programs and services available to them. Representatives from Austrade will also be available to meet with businesses.

This is part of a wider stakeholder engagement program delivered by the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation. From next week a series of public information sessions will be held across the Territory to outline key initiatives, policies and programs the department will be delivering in 2017-18.

If you would like to arrange a meeting with TradeNT and InvestNT officers please call 08 8999 5329 or email

For more information about the Trade Support Scheme go to the Northern Territory Government website and for InvestNT go to the InvestNT website.

Mobile phone hotspot for attaching to satellite towers
Centre for Appropriate Technology mobile phone hotspot technology

A simple but extraordinarily clever bit of homegrown technology has improved the lives of thousands of people living in remote Northern Territory communities.

The Mobile Phone Hotspot extends the reception for mobile phones from the usual 10 kilometres to 30 kilometres from the nearest mobile phone tower.

It doesn’t use any power and has no moving parts.

The technology, which was developed by The Centre for Appropriate Technology in Alice Springs, won the NT Department of Trade, Business and Innovation-sponsored Industry Innovation Award last year.

"It was great recognition of a clever innovation developed by an indigenous owned Territory company," said CAT Ltd Chief Executive Steve Rogers. "It made us very proud."

The Innovation Award is part of the the Chief Minister’s NT Export and Industry Awards, which are now open for nominations.

Consolidated Pastoral won the overall Exporter of the Year Award in 2016.

The International Business Council (IBC) - an arm of the NT Chamber of Commerce, the Territory’s peak business organisation - has added a new award this year: the Local Content Award.

It will be awarded by the IBC, rather than through outside nomination.

Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Greg Bicknell said "This award is recognition that most contracts can be carried out by Territory businesses. You don’t need to look interstate.

"It is to encourage companies to go local whenever possible."

The closing date for entries is 4 August 2017. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 21 September 2017.

Export Award categories are "national categories", which means winners will automatically progress to the Australian Export Awards in November.

There are also local categories.

To nominate go to the Chamber of Commerce website.

Workman welding in workshop

Small Business Safety Advisors will be in Alice Springs this month to help businesses get their work health and safety systems in tip-top shape.

The Small Business Safety Program is designed to assist small businesses to understand and comply with their work health and safety obligations.

To date, more than 100 Territory businesses have used the Small Business Safety Program to improve capacity and capability and better manage their own health and safety systems.

Alice Springs based business, Specialised Welding and Engineering (SWEL) opened their doors in 2012 and implemented a health and safety management system that would cater to the needs of a new small business.

Since then SWEL has seen substantial growth after successfully developing a niche market in central Australia’s oil and gas industry.

Director Kylie Elston saw it as good time to make an appointment with a Small Business Safety Advisor to review their systems and ensure what they have in place suits their current requirements.

"My background is in accounting and my knowledge in safety management systems and processes are somewhat limited. The advice I receive from the Small Business Safety Advisor will ensure my business meets health and safety legislation

"At the moment we do not have the resources to continuously oversee the systems in place, by having a fresh review we can make certain that the current management system is working."

Safety advisors can assist small businesses in a variety of ways; this may include discussing health and safety issues in the workplace and providing advice on the development and implantation of safety management systems.

They can also help small businesses devise strategies and solutions to manage risks and hazards in the workplace and provide resources and materials on work health and safety issues.

Ms Elston said the program is a great opportunity for businesses to receive guidance and support about their work, health and safety obligations and help their business grow.

"It is important for us to have a good health and safety system in place, it is integral to working with clients in the mining, oil and gas industries and across government. Without it we wouldn’t get a look in at this type of work."

"At the end of the day, the most important thing I want to ensure as director is that every employee gets to go home to their family safe and sound."

Small Business Safety Advisors will be in Alice Springs from Monday 26 June to Friday 30 June 2017 to provide free consultations at your workplace.

For more information or to request a consultation please contact the Small Business Safety Advisors on 1800 019 115 option 3, via email at or go to the NT WorkSafe website.

Twenty-two Territory businesses and organisations have been selected for Aboriginal Workforce Grants. This includes three Service Initiatives grants and 19 Employer of Choice grants.

The Service Initiatives grants are to trial and deliver new business services in mentoring and in labour coordination.

They went to:

  • Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation - to develop a new leadership and mentoring service to build Aboriginal middle management capability
  • Karen Sheldon Catering - to develop a responsive recruitment mentoring and employment consultancy service, which will be available to any NT employer of Aboriginal workers, and
  • PDG NT - to develop a new mentoring and labour coordination service to support employers in the Borroloola region.

The 19 employers selected for an Employer of Choice grant will be assisted to buy-in or build their own expertise to support their Aboriginal workforce.

The total value of grants awarded is $903,000.

October Business Month 2017, event host registrations close 30 June 2017, register now

Last updated: 10 July 2019

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