More than 1250 businesses across nine outback regions in five states are members of DesertKnowledge Australia Outback Business Networks (OBN). Cited benefits of the cross-regionalnetworks include – a broadened customer base, access to new clients, increased marketshare, professional development particularly in the area of communication technology –and collaborative marketing opportunities.Case Study: Station Stays SAThe need to get together to share ideas and discuss issues has led to a newcollaborative business marketing opportunity for remote outback pastoraltourism operators in South Australia. Working across regions in the far north ofSA, operators have created the Station Stays SA, Flinders Ranges and OutbackCluster.They are now looking at building this cluster further through linking up withsimilar organisations such as Outback Beds in NSW and Bush Beds in WA. ‘Station Stays is a winner.Outback Business Networks is facilitating these discussions. I’m increasingly confident that the pastoral tourismIndividually these businesses did not have the capacity to market themselves network is a great asset toeffectively nor seek professional development support. Tourism was seen as an us as a point of difference.’opportunity to diversify from their primary production enterprises to provideadditional income and business resilience during pastoral industry downturns. Peter Calahan, RegionalOperations are primarily family run and resource poor in terms of time and staff. Tourism Manager, Flinders Ranges and Outback.From an initial meeting facilitated by OBN in 2009, attended by 13 operators, thecluster has grown to 19 active business participants across an area of more than10,000 square kilometres. Participants have pooled marketing resources to achieve more national and internationalexposure through a website at www.stationstayssa.com.au and other collaborative marketing material.Case Study: Overlander’s WayClustering by eight shires and nine Visitor Information Centres along the Overlander’s Way highway, connectingTownsville to Tennant Creek, has created new wealth opportunities for small towns that would otherwise miss out onmajor tourism dollars. It has also won industry accolades for its partners in the Outback Queensland Tourism Awards.Established more than 10 years ago, the partners in the cluster, which shares a common link to the highway, saw thatby working together to promote the route as a collective tourism experience, they would be able to compete withmajor stand- alone tourism attractions elsewhere.Desert Knowledge Australia Outback Business Networks took the idea further. Coming on board in 2010, OBN facilitateddiscussions that saw the cluster develop from a state-centric project to become a national leader in cross-bordercollaboration by bringing in Tennant Creek in the NT as a pivotal partner.Today the 1550 km route is marketed as one of the great tourist drives in Australia, linking the wonders of the WorldHeritage listed Great Barrier Reef to the rugged Aussie Outback.Partners in the cluster believe their marketing efforts – including website, television, signage and WiFi strategies –will lead to a 30% increase in traveller numbers recorded at Visitor Information Centres over the next 12 months andsubsequent flow on to local businesses.
Case Study: Yamatji Aboriginal Contractors AssociationOutback Business Networks is facilitating the formation of theYamatji Aboriginal Contractors Association (YACA), consistingof seven members across the Yamatji region, in the Mid WestGascoyne region of Western Australia.The objective of YACA is to create a membership basedorganisation that develops and nurtures business opportunitiesfor Indigenous entrepreneurs. The stakeholders themselves areshaping the development process. Good communication, culturalsensitivity and good planning are vital in these early stages.The formation of the cluster will make it easier for companiesand government to conduct business by providing a direct portalto Aboriginal businesses and contractors in the Mid West region.OBN recently arranged a presentation of the members to the Geraldton Iron Ore Alliance, with the immediate result ofa contract for one of the members.With the assistance of OBN, YACA members are now seeking funding for the next steps, including assessing optionssuch as formation of a legal entity as an association, developing a business plan and constitution, marketing theirservices and seeking new members.Case Study: Art of Business A rare opportunity for professional advice on how to turn an arts-based hobby into a business attracted 26 participants representing 18 remote and regional businesses to an Art of Business seminar in Alice Springs in November 2011. Forty percent of the participants were Indigenous and many had travelled hundreds of kilometres to attend the day-long seminar, which was organised through OBN. The presenter was internationally renowned artist Jill Yelland. The training included marketing, promotion and structuring a small business to create a foundation for business survival. OBN partnered with Alice Springs based craft organisation Central Craft to promote and host the event.‘The day was a huge success. Seminar participants have asked to be kept informed of further professionalJill was an inspiration, she had development support opportunities. OBN will facilitate this by creating anmuch knowledge to pass on, opportunity for an on-line cluster using the Desert Knowledge Commons.and it was great to re-connectand meet a lot of our existingand new members. I lookforward to continuing to work For more information call 1800 603 866with Outback Business Networks Aboriginals Beneﬁt Account www.desertknowledge.com.au