Indigenous Enterprise Inititative


The UQ Indigenous Enterprise Initiative was launched in 2013 with a focus on building indigenous economic and employment opportunities within communities impacted by the resources sector. The initiative is based at the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM) at UQ's Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI).

Mining has a strong presence in the more remote regions of Australia and is now the largest private sector employer of Indigenous people. While there have been notable gains over the last decade, there is still more that can be done to increase Indigenous economic participation in and beyond the resources sector.

There are success stories but these are relatively isolated and the pool of full-time employees is also relatively small.

The challenge is to build diversified and well managed businesses that also generate a social dividend back to communities and regions; and, an expanded labour pool with initiatives that focus on enabling greater skill development and employability rather than just getting a job.

Research has an important role to play in supporting this development agenda. Specific areas where there is both an opportunity and need for more work include:

  • Studying supply chains and procurement practices to identify concrete opportunities for Indigenous and local businesses;
  • Preparing case studies of successful Indigenous businesses;
  • Undertaking detailed analysis of local economies, demographic trends and labour market dynamics;
  • Trialling innovative approaches to the recruitment, training and career advancement for Indigenous employees ;
  • Addressing business governance challenges;
  • Analysing of policy settings that may inhibit – or enable – greater Indigenous participation in the resources sector; and
  • Building and servicing a “community of practice”.

To grow this program of work, we are working to fund a leader to lead this exciting initiative with an appropriate level of research assistance and infrastructure support. We would anticipate that the within the program will be training and scholarship opportunities.

Due to the broader community and business nature of the proposed research, we envisage working with the Business, Economics and Law Faculty and other parts of the University of Queensland.


The overarching goal of the United Nations University is to contribute to global sustainable development that will enable present generations to live a decent life in peace, in freedom, in safety, and in good health without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. In pursuit of this ideal, the UN University employs a systems-oriented, interdisciplinary, problem-solving approach that integrates the methodological rigour of the natural and physical sciences with the insights of the social sciences and humanities. The history of the United Nations University began in 1969, with a proposal by United Nations Secretary-General U Thant for “the establishment of a United Nations university, truly international and devoted to the Charter objectives of peace and progress”

The UNU Institute of Advanced Studies (Yokohama, Japan) seeks to advance knowledge and promote learning for policy making to meet the challenges of environmentally sustainable development. Under this Institute, the Traditional Knowledge Initiative seeks to build greater understanding and facilitate awareness of traditional knowledge (TK) to inform action by indigenous peoples, local communities and domestic and international policy makers. Key outputs include research activities, policy studies, capacity development and online learning and dissemination. The initiative is in the process of establishing a Traditional Knowledge Institute (TK Institute) in Australia and has agreed to partner with the University of Queensland with regard to cobranding this chair within their mandate based on our common goals in using traditional knowledge to enhance indigenous capacity for development.


For a list of latest publication activities of the Initiative please refer to our Centre's publication page linked on the main menu



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The University of Queensland is registered to receive direct philanthropic contributions in Australia and the United States of America through the University of Queensland in America Foundation