Indigenous small business financing in the Australian Capital Territory : an exploratory study

  • Caroline Gibbins

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    The primary objective of this exploratory study is to gain an understanding of the financing of Indigenous small businesses in the ACT. This qualitative interpretivist study draws on Bourdieu’s social theory concepts of field, habitus and capital to build a theoretical framework that aligns with the research questions and efficaciously situates and supports the new knowledge generated by this study within its constructs. Findings from the study confirm the findings of existing, although inadequate, studies on Australian Indigenous small businesses that, in reality, business financing is severely limited for this group. Furthermore, findings highlight that Indigenous Australians use their personal savings to start small businesses. Once set up, Indigenous Australian small businesses endeavour to access the Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP) supply chains of governments. IPP contracts are crucial for business financing but sometimes present issues of black cladding, inadequate communication and limited accessibility. Micro and new businesses have limited knowledge of business financing mechanisms generally and are unlikely to know about financing from social organisations or online financial institutions. Another finding shows that while Indigenous small businesses with mainstream partners and extensive networks are better able to access capital resources, industry type can also play a vital role. Unsurprisingly, interrelated issues impact financing Indigenous small businesses to explain why Indigenous small businesses have more challenges than mainstream ones in accessing economic capital. The study recommends that policymakers, banks and other relevant stakeholders of Indigenous small businesses consider relevant findings in this study to help reduce some barriers identified in financing Indigenous small businesses. Finally, this study contributes towards improving the practical knowledge of financing of Indigenous and other minority-owned small businesses; extending current theoretical knowledge of the social concepts relevant to businesses; and providing foundational work for further research by highlighting the important issues that impact Indigenous small business financing.
    Date of Award2021
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMonir Mir (Supervisor) & Peter Graham (Supervisor)

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