Category Archives: Chambers of Commerce

Chambers of Commerce events and updates where I am involved.

What is an Indigenous Business? The Many Definitions Are Confusing

Indigenous Business 50% or 51%
Indigenous Business 50% or 51%

So one would think that there would be a standard definition of what is an Indigenous business. Well unfortunately there is no single definition in Australia that is legislated as to what defines an Indigenous business. This creates much confusion for those wanting to seek out an Indigenous business as a supplier or to meet their contractual requirements such as under the Indigenous Opportunity Policy (IOP).

So before we go any further lets first clarify the definition of an ‘Indigenous’ person. Australia considers an Indigenous Australian to be someone who is

So what defines an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person? We will use the Australian Bureau of Statistics definition adopted from Australian legislation. I have highlighted the key words

  • a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent,
  • who identifies as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin and
  • who is accepted as such by the community with which the person associates”.

So lets begin with the first definition that was around with Indigenous Business Australia (IBA). IBA has the following criteria for a business to be identified as being an Indigenous business.

  • at least one applicant must be of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent
  • at least 50 per cent of the ownership of your business must be by a person(s) of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent.

Okay, so IBA, a Federal Government agency, uses the definition that an Indigenous business is at least 50% owned.

We now go to Supply Nation, who provides ‘certification’ for being an Indigenous business. There definition is as follows to be a certified supplier or Indigenous business

  • Ownership – at least 51 per cent ownership of the company by an Indigenous Australian(s).
  • Management – the company is led / managed by a Principal Executive Officer who is an Indigenous Australian.
  • Control – the key business decisions regarding the company’s finances, operations, personnel and strategy are made by an Indigenous Australian(s).
  • For profit – the company is able to distribute its equity to members.
  • *Trading as a business – with a minimum annual revenue of $50,000.00 and a demonstrated recent history of trade (ideally, at least 6 months trade history).
    *If your business has low turnover (less than $50k) or is a start up (no trade history), then please refer to the Emerging Supplier section.
  • Business is located in Australia

So Supply Nation uses the definition as being at least 51% owned. This is important to know as Supply Nation (formerly known as Australian Indigenous Minority Suppliers Council (AIMSC)) is listed in the Indigenous Opportunity Policy as a reference point for Indigenous business.

So who else has a definition? Well the Queensland Government has its Black Business Finder (BBF) which is used by the Industry Capability Network (ICN) for contractors to source Indigenous businesses for major contracts. Note, that in order to be eligible to tender and work on these major projects, you have to be registered with ICN. So, Indigenous businesses are required to be listed for identification on the BBF. So BBF has for its definition

“Businesses defined as an Indigenous business are:

  • a majority-owned Indigenous business.
  • a 50% owned Indigenous business.

A non-Indigenous business that employees at least 75% of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander workers is eligible to register on Black Business Finder.”

Confused yet?! The Black Business Finder, which is required to be used by major contractors to source Indigenous businesses includes in its listings businesses that have 75% Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander workers. Do we need to go further as to what the definition of “75% workers” is? Does it mean 75% of the workforce? 75% of total wages? 75% wages/workers for the year? 75% of the wages/workers for the project life? This begins to create more questions then it answers. It is especially confusing for a company contractually bound by the IOP to source Indigenous businesses and they are required to use this register, yet they are not assured by the register the business meets the IOP requirements.

So are only government organisations limited to having different definitions? The short answer is no!
At the time of writing I am unable to find the membership application for Aboriginal Enterprise in Mining, Energy and Exploration (AEMEE) to locate their definition. But their historic position on being an Indigenous business was that if you say you are an Indigenous business, then you are accepted to be so.

Pilbarra Aboriginal Contractors Association (PACA) in their Review of Contractual Arrangements Between Australian Aboriginal Enterprises and the Resource Industry (2010) identified 25% ownership as their definition of being an Indigenous business.

In conclusion, there needs to be a single legislated definition of an Indigenous business. I sympathise with those organisations that are seeking Indigenous businesses but have to battle with this definition. In my opinion in a professional capacity, I see the definition of 50% Indigenous owned as being the best step forward. I see this as the opportunity for Indigenous business to grow through 50/50 joint ventures or partnerships. Think of the number of husband and wife partnership businesses where one is non Indigenous. Once there is an adequate and stable supply of Indigenous business that meet the requirements of capability and capacity to service corporate and government procurement, then there can be a transition to the 51% definition.

The employment percentage, to me, does not stand as an adequate definition as this is subjective and can be easily manipulated. If we used the definition of whether a company in Australia was an Australian business using the employee as a definition, then the majority of companies owned by overseas owners would be classified as being Australian owned because they employ Australian workers. Ownership is shareholding, not employment.

Please note I use organisations and their definitions as examples of where there is no consistency in defining an Indigenous business. At the time of writing, I myself am a member and Director of the South East Queensland Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (SEQICC) that uses the Supply Nation definition of 51%, but also a member and President of the Indigenous Construction Group Australia (ICGA) that uses the Indigenous Business Australia definition of 50%. When I am asked what is the definition of an Indigenous business, what would be my answer?

*UPDATE: On the 31st July 2014 the “Forrest Review” by Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest on Indigenous Employment and Training was made public. As part of this, the review identified the significance of Indigenous business in contributing to employment outcomes and economic development. As part of the recommendation, the review gave the following part of its criteria for an Indigenous business for the purposes of being eligible for tax free status as being ‘…. At least 25% Indigenous ownership and board membership….’.

How To Create Your “What Do You Do?” Elevator Pitch

So what is an Elevator Pitch? Well, an Elevator Pitch is essentially your response to the age old question asked of “What do you do?” An Elevator Pitch should answer this question in a few sentences in less than a minute or two with the purpose of 1. Informing them about what you do exactly; 2. Wanting them to know more; 3. Getting potential sales leads or follow ups.

There are three different Elevator Pitches I am going to introduce you to. All of them are very simple. From these, with practice, you can then develop your own unique elevator pitch. Remember that as part of your elevator pitch, you should be introducing your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), to differentiate your business from your competitors.

Slogan or Tag Line Pitch

Geddes/Getty Pitch

Why- How- What Pitch

Mix and Match Pitch

Remember- Practice Makes Perfect

Try each of your pitches as much as possible. Use as many networking events as possible to practice each of your pitches to see what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to experiment and change your pitch. Identify what catches the interest of people and what doesn’t. What makes them want to know more? Soon, you will have your elevator pitch down and it will confidently roll off your tongue as second nature when you are asked “What do you do?”

~ Damien Foley

10 Things You Need To Do Before You Network

namebadge
Name Badge

Networking is a lot of fun, but it does involve some preparation. Here is a general run through of my routine

1. Identify where you are going to network- We have already covered How to Find The Right Networking Event For You in my previous post.

2. Business Cards- always have business cards with you when attending. There are exceptions to this rule. I will go into more detail about what your business card should have in a future post.

3. Elevator Pitch– An elevator pitch is a quick spiel that in a few seconds tells people what you do. I will go into more detail about what types of elevator pitches there are and how you can create one for yourself.

4. Name Tag- I personally have my own name tag I take to events- I have several in fact for the different organisations I may represent! These are incredibly important as they allow people you have never met to automatically know who you are and who you represent. It helps to break the ice of meeting someone new if they already know who you are before they meet you.

5. Dress to Impress- You only get one chance at a first impression! How you present yourself is the first impression people will have of you. Dress to suit the event. Again, I will go into more detail about how to dress and present yourself for your event in a later post.

6. Cleanliness and odour- you might think this is a no brainer, but everyone is different. What is acceptable to one person is not necessarily acceptable to another. We will discuss this in a future post. But remember you are trying to connect with others and how others perceive you from how you present yourself could damage your personal brand (we will discuss personal brand later also).

7. Eating- I generally try to eat before I go to a networking event. Many networking events serve finger foods such as dim sims, small sandwiches, mini spring rolls, mini quiches etc with dipping sauces. This is eaten standing up while networking. Your only source of cleaning is a napkin! Eat before you go so you’re not talking with a mouth full of food; shaking hands and handling business cards with oily fingers; and spilling sweet chilli sauce over yourself and others; hunger pains from lack of food- all while holding a drink and other documents.

8. Drinking-I have a general rule that I don’t drink alcohol at work events. One is to do with the smell of beer on your breathe. The other is at some events, you may have one too many and be the person that does something stupid everyone will remember (personal brand!). Also, avoid glasses filled with ice unless sipping through a straw. A glass with ice can be embarrassing if it makes the drink spill on you when you’re about to take a sip.

9. Logistics- Work out how you are getting there and how long it will take. Will you be paying for parking? What time does public transport run? How far do you have to walk and is it up hill? Knowing in advance could save you problems later. Don’t forget your return trip also!

10. Public Speaking and Practice- I say public speaking as you are likely to be meeting people on a ‘cold call’ basis. Some people dread talking to people they don’t know. Don’t give up if you don’t feel you did well your first time or you got butterflies in your stomach when talking to people. Learning how to network comes with practice. Your spiel, your approach, timing, when to be serious or to be funny, how to read people. We will go over this more in a later post.

I hope this helps you prepare for your next networking event. We will discuss the above items in another post.

~ Damien Foley

How To Find The Right Networking Event For You

So you want to meet new people to network with. But where are they? And which is the right one for you?

Ideally, ask someone you know who is already networking to give you some ideas on where to network. Meet Up, for example, is an online place to find where people are meeting for different interest groups in a particular area. I strongly recommend this if you are new to anything, anywhere!

Below are some different organisations and types of ways to network.

Speed Networking | Chamber of Commerce | Business Networking Inc | Sporting Clubs | Exclusive Clubs | Industry Events | Meet Up | Art Exhibitions | School Events | Community Events and Organisations | Private or Exclusive Events | Online Forums and Communities | Social Media Linked In- Twitter- Facebook | Volunteering | Lions Club | Quota | Rotary | Seminars and Workshops | Book Clubs | Cooking Classes.

Remember, networking means different things to different people. Ask yourself the following questions

1. Who am I wanting to meet/what is my purpose? Business or pleasure? Are you wanting to meet new clients; new suppliers; new friends; colleagues from your industry; mentors; new business partners; investors; employees; people who are in a particular industry or have common interests? Don’t always assume that for business you need to go to events where only your potential clients are.

2. How many networking events do you want to attend each week or month or year? How frequently do you want to attend any one networking event? I can literally go to a networking event every day for almost every day of the year. But I wouldn’t get much work done if I did!

3. What are my limitations? Cost? Travel time/distance/location? Time to attend? Time to contribute to the organisation? Some networking events cost money to attend, not including the additional costs of meals, drinks, contributions etc. Where the event is and the time commitment to attend is also a factor. Some networking events are not just networking but also part of an organisations official meeting.

Networking is about meeting people. Don’t immediately dismiss an event because those attending are not the people you want to meet. Getting to know these people and making them a part of your network might open you to other people who you are wanting to meet.

If you want to find me, I have my “Where I Will Be” page letting people know what events I am attending for business. I also link a little blog I do on the event as well.

Personally, I use Meet Up to meet new people once a week for both the personal and professional interaction. I have made this part of my goals for 2014.

So now you can find events to network at. But what do you need to do to start networking? Find out in my next post!

~ Damien Foley

Networking- Its not what you know but who you know!

Networking is a great way to meet new people and make new contacts. Here are 7 reasons why you should network

Grant Hackett and Damien Foley
Grant Hackett and Damien Foley- RDA Gold Coast Event October 2011.
  • Build your network of contacts- Networking allows you to expand your existing contacts, increasing your pool of clients and suppliers. I have met numerous people by networking.
  • Learn new things- By meeting new people, I have learnt new things about my industry and especially about the needs of my customers.
  • Build your profile and professional brand- Become more recognised by your peers, clients, suppliers and the community. Build your professional brand (We will discuss your personal or professional brand in another post later). I have been asked to join committee’s, speak at conferences and become involved with local community groups because of networking.
  • Gain access to powerful and influential people- Through my networks I have had meetings with some very powerful and influential people in government and business. Networking lets you meet people you ordinarily wouldn’t get access to by walking up and starting a conversation.
  • Make strong relationships upon which you can leverage- I met the secretary of a very influential person. By making a good relationship with her, I was able to gain her trust to give me an introduction to her boss.
  • Build self esteem and confidence- When I first started I was nervous. But many of the people who network felt exactly the same way when they first started. With practice you will learn to network with the best of them.
  • Have Fun!- Meeting new people is a whole lot of fun and a great way to make new friends.

2013: Reflecting on the year that was and what 2014 has in store

2013-2014As 2013 draws to a close,  I have drawn on the inspiration of a friend of mine, Luke, to reflect on what has happened in the year and what 2014 has laying ahead for me.

  • My biggest success was losing 18 kilos. I feel a lot better about myself both physically; emotionally and mentally. I did this by making  lifestyle changes that I knew I would continue with, meaning no fad diets! To learn how I did this, read “How I Lost 18Kg By Eating An Elephant”.
  • I have continued with my community work, sitting on several not for profit organisation’s. Unfortunately at the end of 2012 I had to cease being a mentor to the Flagstone Junior Chamber of Commerce at Flagstone State Community College due to my work commitments this year. I remained the Treasurer of the South East Queensland Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (SEQICC) and President of the Indigenous Construction Group Australia (ICGA).  The SEQICC has under gone some major changes this year which I am proud to be a part of,  including securing office premises and taking on a full time CEO. The ICGA is undergoing its own review after some set backs, but I am positive about its role and contributions it will make to the sector.
  • I started an event management business, Murritsi Events, with 2 partners at the end of 2012. In October of this year the other partners decided to pull out of the business. I decided to continue with it. I learnt you really need to have business partners who are as committed and as hungry as you are to make the business succeed by doing the hard yards. Otherwise they will lose interest, slow down and drop off.
  • For my bookkeeping and consulting business, Foley Business Management,  I completed the units I need to obtain my BAS Agent Registration. I have also submitted a proposal to a potential client and I’m looking at office space near the city.
  • I am in the process of having a provisional patent lodged for a phone app concept I’ve had for some time now. This will allow me to start discussing the idea with developer’s and other’s who can provide valuable input and feedback on the concept.
  • I recently posted on my Facebook page how I have been so focused on my work this year, I have become a recluse to my friends. It took the wisdom and life experience of 3 mentors to tell me to enjoy myself,  as life is a journey and not a destination.
  • I have started to reconnect with old friends. More so at the end of this year as I started to reflect on how busy I have been. I caught up with an old school friend who works  not far from where I live. It was great to meet up with the guys I did a Tafe course with a few years ago and find out what they are doing. Needless to say, arvo drinks turned into dinner that then turned into more drinks.
  • I took on a comment a friend made while we were at dinner. He described me as ‘conservative’. Its true, and as a result I thought I needed to revamp my appearance. So I have new glasses, changed my hairstyle, grew facial stubble (on weekends!) and updating my wardrobe also due to the weight I have lost.
  • I have also taken on the comment from Sass of being a ‘Judgie McJudge’. That is in my personal life I am quick to make judgement of people. So I am going to make a concerted effort to be less critical of people in my personal life. This has started by getting to know Sass better!

So what does 2014 have in store

  • I hope to start taking on clients for Foley Business Management early in the year, building on my existing relationships and identifying new ones, namely in the Not For Profit sector. A goal of my business life is to leave the legacy of “creating a better world for our children’s children”.
  • Murritsi Events will be second, with Foley Business Management taking priority. But it will find its place I am sure with the right approach early in the year.
  • The Phone App will begin to come together as I start to put together a rough business plan after talking with the right people. There are no definite times for this as IT start ups are a new area to my skill sets. So I will be looking for the right people to make it happen!
  • I will be looking to move closer to Brisbane in the first half of the year. An office in near the city will be the incentive I need to move in there to save myself the 1 hour travel to work each morning at peak hour. With the office I will also try to separate my work/personal life better. A home office means you’re at work when you should be at home and at home when you should be at work!
  • I’ll continue with my health and fitness, by looking to return to study/train in martial arts.
  • I’ll continue with my community work by providing my services on a voluntary basis for organisations I feel are worthy to the community. This for now includes the SEQICC and ICGA. I will limit myself to being involved with no more than two organisations in a voluntary position, as I have done in 2013.
  • To enjoy myself more and be more social, planning my weekends as much I do for my work days. I will look to join some social groups to get out and mingle with people outside of my professional network, be it cooking classes, photography etc.
  • TAKE A HOLIDAY that isn’t a stop over on a business trip or a few hours between meetings!!!!

Public Holidays- Did You Know Labour Day for Qld Is Now In October, Not In May?

Business owners, especially the self employed,  have a lot to deal with as a business. So knowing when public holidays are coming up is generally not at the top of the priority list. But it does affect a lot of businesses, in the way of staff availability, completion of projects and jobs, planning meetings and timing of bank payments. Not knowing when a public holiday is on can be costly to business, not to mention embarrassing if you publicise the wrong date!

Here are the links for Public Holidays in each state. If you need the Queensland Public Holidays, the Justice Departments website has a great feature to the right which you can click to Subscribe to their calendar to add to yours to be kept constantly up to date with Queensland’s Public Holidays. South Australia also has the ability to be kept up to date via emails, but also subscribes you to other email notifications.

Australian States Public Holidays

Queensland Public Holidays

NSW Public Holidays

Victoria Public Holidays

ACT Public Holidays

Tasmania Public Holidays

South Australia Public Holidays

Northern Territory Public Holidays

Western Australia Public Holidays