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KPMG encourages economic growth and entrepreneurship in Indigenous Australia

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KPMG, the global network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory services has recently launched a series of proposals aimed at encouraging the economic growth of the Australian Indigenous community.

Developed in conjunction with prominent Indigenous Australian thinkers, the collaborators point to over 20 recommendations focusing on taxation, superannuation, innovation, education, Indigenous assets and Empowered Communities reforms.Peter Nash, Chairman of KPMG Australia said,

We believe there’s great potential for Indigenous Australia to participate in economic growth, and that it is economic participation and commercial enterprise that will lead to better outcomes for Indigenous Australia.

The KPMG report has explored three key areas for innovation and entrepreneurship within the Indigenous community. First, it proposes a range of tax and economic measures that could assist Indigenous enterprise by opening up new investment streams, such as impact investment. Secondly, it presents ideas for stimulating growth and success of Indigenous businesses (which are 100 times more likely to hire Indigenous Australians than non-Indigenous Australians); and it proposes more innovative ways for Indigenous communities to use and leverage their land and other assets to better provide economic opportunities for communities.

In recent years, Indigenous entrepreneurialism has been emerging to the forefront, partly due to the Commonwealth’s Indigenous Procurement Policy and the government’s increased expenditure on Indigenous goods and services. Expenditure into Indigenous has jumped from $6 million to $156 million in less than a year and the combined income of the top 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations grew by 250 percent between 2004 to 2015. Co-authors of the report, Eddie Fry and James Mabbott said,

In order to play fairly and equally in the future of enterprise, Indigenous Australia needs to have the equal opportunity to build skills such as STEM and in particular coding capabilities, and have equal access to capital as other Australian entrepreneurs.

The report has made the following recommendations –

  1. Investment in education and training of Indigenous Australians at the school level and beyond in the areas of STEM, entrepreneurship, agile management, lean startup, human-centered design, commercialization, and IP management.
  2. To create programs to expose Indigenous entrepreneurs and potential Indigenous entrepreneurs to incubators and accelerator environments.
  3. To create platforms on which to expose Indigenous entrepreneurs to venture capital, angel investors, and other forms of funding.

Fry and Mabbott concluded that the overwhelming majority of Indigenous Australians are already engaged with new consumer technology, with a very high rate of smartphone usage. The blurring of physical and virtual realms provides an opportunity for remote Australia to more effectively compete within Australia and globally.

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