Appendix 1

A note on methodology

To lend rigour to the research, we collected data through multi-methods and from multi-sources. In particular, we used:

  • semi-structured interviews (face-to-face and phone)
  • questionnaires (by email)
  • published case studies62 and academic papers.

Commercial vs community enterprises

In this study, we distinguish between two forms of Indigenous business ventures: entrepreneurial and 'community' enterprises. They differ63 according to their:

  • process of incorporation
  • business philosophies that assign relative priorities to commercial and social interests and
  • governance or reporting requirements.

Entrepreneurial enterprises are stand-alone commercial businesses, be they sole traders, partnerships or proprietary limited companies incorporated under the Australian Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997. They operate in the capitalist, or market, economy.

Community enterprises are community based businesses incorporated under the Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act 1976 or one of the many state association Acts. They often have taxation concessions, are usually a not-for-profit organization and can be a registered charity.64

You can access this publication online by visiting our website at and searching for Indigenous small business owners in Australia (NAT 72987). If you have any comments, you can email them to us at

    Last modified: 18 Nov 2009QC 22397