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Friday, 12 August 2011

Making and Distributing Profits as a Cultural Enterprise?

For some time now, ever since Marilyn and Peter Wallaces were first identified as cultural entreprenuers and the extended family (including younger generations) all met with Helen Murphy around a plastic table overlooking the Endeavour River and decided to apply business principles to achieve thier vision for the future .. ever since that meeting, Marilyn, Peter and family have been imagining Bana Yarralji as a Pty Ltd much like all the other mainstream Pty Ltds around them 

One of the key places from which Bana Yarralji has sought advice on what is involved in being a Pty Ltd, and sought assistance on incorporating as a Pty Ltd is Balkanu's Cape York Business Development Unit, particularly the Cooktown Business Hub, where Peter and Marilyn encountered some serious business planning for an Aboriginal hosting business on Nyungkal country by Westpac and KPMG secondees.

In the process of discussing their business wishes and seeking assustance to register their cultural enterprise as a Pty Ltd, it is amazing just how many people have asked Marilyn and Peter Wallace and others as to WHY they would want to register as a Pty Ltd where there are other less expensive, less onorous, and potentially better supported options around.   

The Balkanu Business Development Unit asked this; lawyers assisting Bana Yarraji draft leases for 873 Shiptons Flat Road asked this;  and most recently another Westpac/BTInvestment volunteer has asked this .. all asked the same thing  and almost all recommending incorporating with the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations  .. as an Indigenous Corporation.

Today's lesson, then, along the journey launching a cultural enterprise, after speaking to the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, was to find the recommended "indigenous corporation" option, will not actually allow Marilyn and Peter to trade and operate as genuine entrepreneurs ultimately receiving shares in profits  (being profits for which Marilyn, Peter and others might themselves committ to a cultural enterprise fund of some kind).

As an Indigenous Corporation profits need to be invested back into achieving the Corporation's objectives, where, as a Pty Ltd shares of profits can be distributed amongst the owners.   To operate as a genuine business, then, it seems Bana Yarrralji may still be imagined as bcoming a Pty Ltd, though it seems there may still be some ways to go yet!!

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Cultural entreprenuers moving onto country, building a base on country, working on country; caring for country, and hosting guests on country