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Naomi Anstess – a fierce advocate for Indigenous businesses

A respected figure in the Territory’s business scene, assuming the role of Chairperson for the Northern Territory Indigenous Business Network (NTIBN) in November 2023.

She is also a voice for Indigenous businesses that resonates within the varied industry sectors. With a remarkable ability to forge connections and foster collaboration, she has become instrumental in creating pathways and catalysing the growth of Indigenous enterprises. Naomi is a thought leader in Indigenous economic development and a foremost authority on Blak Cladding and Indigenous procurement policy.

This special edition of Blak Business magazine is a recognition of the work of the NTIBN as a peak body for Blak Business in the Territory. That the premier Territory magazine, Territory Q, saw fit to create this special speaks volumes of the work that has been undertaken, and the impact that has been created, by NTIBN and our members over the past decade. Our Board, CEO and operations team have driven an absolutely unapologetic and robust agenda that has created knowledge and visibility of the true capability, reach and diversity of the Blak Business sector in the Territory. We have pushed our allies to do better than the minimum mandatory requirements and we have both wrestled and collaborated with government to see the first ever NT Aboriginal Procurement Policy developed and applied.

On a national level, the NTIBN has been a leader among the jurisdictional Indigenous business chambers and networks, pulling everyone together to place economic impact and action over politics and creating the National Indigenous Business Chambers Alliance. Knowing that we are better, stronger and more influential together, the NTIBN, with our interstate colleagues, advocates for regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led certification practices. We have advocated that place-based decision-making is culturally appropriate and that a definition of MAJORITY owned and controlled should be the ONLY definition of a Blak Business in Australia. Further, we have collectively advocated that the chambers and networks exist to support and grow Aboriginal Businesses and stamp out the Blak Cladding that has arisen from the Commonwealth definitions and current national model at Supply Nation.

At the local level, NTIBN has activated the regions and empowered Aboriginal Business Enterprises to be seen, procured, diversify, grow and start. We will continue to challenge local industry bodies and buy local advocates who actively advocate again Aboriginal procurement, and we work closely with Australia’s corporate sector who are growing more intensely focussed on engaging Aboriginal business with integrity and not box ticking.

We are proud that the NTIBN is making noise that makes our mob feel strong, and others uncomfortable. We urge everyone to collaborate with us and get comfortable with being uncomfortable in this journey of change and nation building.

We thank our allies and friends who believe in our movement. We are proud of the Territory for being leaders in applying the majority owned and controlled definition of an Aboriginal Business Enterprise. We are proud of our members who stand strong together and demonstrate that all Aboriginal Businesses are social enterprises and that FOR PROFIT is self determination.

I acknowledge all of our amazing Aboriginal Business owners who put their skin in the game, because you are changing it for the better. You are generating wealth and giving our people choice. You are breaking the shackles of government and the missionaries, mercenaries and madmen, and you are showing the world how incredible, resilient, innovative and talented we are.

I am sure that it is an honour for Territory Q, to print this magazine demonstrating Blak Excellence in the Territory. We know that it will inspire many and create more opportunities for our people to Close the Gap – on our own.