A business network has been established in the Northern Territory to help Aboriginal people develop economic opportunities in the bush.

The Savanna Alliance, a not-for-profit organisation, draws on the expertise of successful Indigenous business leaders to mentor those less experienced.

Executive director, Alice Beilby, says a unique 'hybrid business model' is also being used to help start-up companies become more competitive in the mainstream market.

"Some Aboriginal people are already trying to set up small contract businesses on their own country, or are trying to tap into other opportunities nearby, like on mine sites," she said.

"They are finding that they are not quite getting up to speed to meet compliance requirements, and they are looking for advice and a hand-up from other more experienced companies.

"Our members are all Aboriginal businesses, they contribute membership fees, so it is basically a model of giving back, of corporate social responsibility.

"If there is a project that comes up that we may not have a business structure for, we can set up a company ourselves under the alliance," she said.

"But if there is a project where a group of member companies feel that they have the experience and capabilities, we would put in for the contract as a group."

Ms Beilby says many Aboriginal people want greater choice when it comes to jobs and business opportunities.

"Not taking away from all the good work that goes on everyday, but sometimes the 'cookie-cutter' approach to economic development doesn't fit all," she said.

"There are always people who want to do things a little differently, that have a unique goal or different business idea than the rest of the community.

"Not everyone wants to be a ranger, a cleaner or a dozer driver.

"There are some really amazing creative ideas out there for developing businesses, so they are the sort of people we want to support."

 

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