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Indigenous-owned and directed company CollNT is a perfect example of a small business that has grown in a careful, sustainable way.

Owner Andrew Collins, a qualified carpenter and joiner, started out as a sole trader working from home eight years ago. 

“I did that for two years. No wages. Living off the wife’s income. I had to work very hard. I just kept chipping away. 

“I grew organically, slowly, so that I didn’t go broke.” 

He now employs 26 staff, including three project managers, 12 tradies and four office administrators, and has an office and storage shed on the outskirts of Darwin. 

CollNT has successfully delivered a string of projects as a subcontractor for major companies such as Ventia and JLL. 

One of the keys to success has been a simple acknowledgement: we don’t know everything. 

Mr Collins has not shied away from bringing in consultants for tricky tasks, such as tender writing. 

“Doing the work is the easy part,” he says. “Writing tenders is very difficult. So we used consultants but our staff are now trained so we can do them in-house.” 

CollNT are experts in a variety of industry fields, including project management, asset maintenance, construction, carpentry, civil works and electrical. 

“Building maintenance is our bread and butter,” says Mr Collins. 

The company focuses on providing excellent service, including transparent communication. 

“You’ve got to conduct your business honestly and morally. You’ve got to be able to walk down the street and look people you’ve dealt with in the eye, rather than having to cross the street to avoid them. 

“I’m always straight up with clients – and it pays off.” 

CollNT was recently named Ventia NT Subcontractor of the Quarter following a nomination by Ventia operational staff and was a finalist in the 2020 Chief Minister’s NT Export and Industry Awards. 

They were also a finalist for the 2023 Australian Defence Industry Awards, Indigenous Business of the Year. 

The company uses Territory businesses whenever possible and sponsors many community causes, such as Soldier On, Wasted Talent – Girls Gone Fishing competition, the Variety Bash, the Wallopers police rugby union golden oldies, F&S Motorsport Sprint Cars and Go Karts, Top End Drift Association, PINT Football Club, Veterans Employment, the Women’s Royal Australian Army Corp and the Darwin Salties. 



3/25 Mighall Place, Holtze 

PO Box 3620 Palmerston, NT 0831 

08 8947 2598