Many Indigenous ventures, which are merely partly Indigenous owned and operated, eventually fail due of lack of alignment with their aspirations and knowledge when the business is set up and because approaches used to establish Indigenous enterprises are often non-participatory. This research explores Indigenous ventures established in the past, their success factors and constraints, and the contemporary planning process of an aquaculture venture on South Goulburn Island. The study furthermore looks at cultural and social factors important to current business planning from the perspective of the residents. This research uses a case study methodology underpinned by document analysis, scripted and unstructured interviews and participant observation and is based on a Critical Theory paradigm. Findings show that two previous ventures, the Kava Shop and Mardbalk Arts and Culture (MAC), were created around cultural and social factors that suited the community dynamics such as avoiding kinship relations during business transactions and providing funds for residents to attend cultural obligations. The MAC to this day provides the opportunity for residents to earn income while not interfering with lifestyle or social commitments, as artists can produce art when and where it is most convenient to them. A past aquaculture venture on South Goulburn Island was abandoned in its planning stages because only a few Indigenous residents aspired to this venture and the process was largely externally driven. Findings from a contemporary aquaculture business planning approach reveal that the older generation has a nostalgic relation to aquaculture while the younger generation is more focused on earning wages. Participants also had different views on whether the business should be communally owned or consist of smaller individual businesses. This research argues that historically, ventures that take into account hybrid economies (combining cultural and economic factors) have been successful and should be continued, and furthermore aspirations of all participants, including different age groups and social status of residents should be taken into account in contemporary business planning.
Submitted in the fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Masters of Arts, University of the Sunshine Coast, 2015.