Noongar Enterprise Development Support
During 2018 RDA Wheatbelt secured two third party contracts totalling $975,000 (GST ex) from the Australian Government Department for Social Services from the ‘Inclusive Communities’ fund. The funding is for just over 3 yrs to support Aboriginal Enterprise Development in the Yued (Moora) and Ballardong Nyungar (Noongar) regions of the Wheatbelt (covering initially Northam, Brookton, Cunderdin, Dowerin, Merredin, Toodyay and York). The ‘Noongar Enterprise Development Support’ project will cover approximately 82% of the region’s Aboriginal population.
A range of organisations are funded to deliver enterprise support services once a business venture has been identified, however none of these services are physically present within the Wheatbelt, and rely on contact from entrepreneurs, who must first locate them utilising an internet search.
These grants fund a Noongar Enterprise Support Project Officer in each region to encourage and support social enterprise and small Aboriginal businesses and will also provide a mechanism for the delivery of other funded programs into the Wheatbelt (such as the IBA Business Information Sessions that currently has no avenue within the Wheatbelt to connect with prospective Aboriginal business owners), and others. It can be the basis around which other programs designed to reduce the gap in Aboriginal employment, economic development and social participation, can populate. Ultimately a focus in this area is expected to generate a critical mass of services that will create a supportive environment for Aboriginal business, increasing economic activity and employment.
Social enterprises are expected to act as incubation hubs, stimulating and assisting with the development of micro enterprise as the community and individuals therein gain confidence, experience and commercial knowledge.
As far as possible, the RDA Wheatbelt solution is closely aligned to the success factors identified by the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Steering Committee: a. Cooperative approaches b. Community involvement c. Good governance d. Ongoing government support.
The overarching goal of this program is to provide one on one support to inspire local Aboriginal persons and organisations to develop their own businesses. A vital part of this is to develop the staff skills, mechanisms and support to give this project life beyond the three years. The aim is for the staff, equipment and projects to move across to a local community organisations to continue.