36. More business questions: Vegetables have value, but how are pearls valuable?

This podcast explores more questions about how to start a small business.

Nikunu Yunupinguand Richard Trudgen discuss how many Yolngu are convinced that the government will give them money to start a small business. While Balanda often say they can get help Yolngu to begin businesses, the reality is very few people are actually running businesses except for a few small examples.

Some people make arts and crafts and sell it to arts and craft organisations who then on-sell it. These organisations are required to do all the paper work that the government needs.

Nikunu explains that some Yolngu are interested in running their own small business, so they save money, thinking that after a few years the government then helps them by giving them more money. There’s some confusion about this as we need to remember that the government is dependent on business and workers for its money not the other way around. This is true whether the business is big or small. And when you have a bigger business there is more paperwork and you need to pay tax.

The way business is run today is just like traditional Yolngu trade in the past.

The podcast looks at how Yolngu can use their own private money to start their own private business. It discusses the difference between a business and a hobby and when you need an ABN and how to slowly build a small business into a bigger one. This is no matter what the business, whether it’s trepang, crocodile skins or natural pearls.

Natural pearling is discussed as an example of what is possible. Today the natural pearl trade around the world is a 300 million dollar industry. If Yolngu find them it’s a good idea not to throw them away or give them to the children. A way can be found to sell them, as well as learning from Elders how to create and harvest them in the traditional way to create modern business.



There are 4 Stories in this podcast. Please see time stamps below:

  • More questions about how to start small business – 00:00
  • Government always promises money to start up businesses but it never happens – 9:13
  • Are garden products (plants and fruits) and pearls the same? Can you sell them? – 16:47
  • Stop waiting for Government to start a business: Start with your own money – 25:45