Business Development

Cape York Corporation works with its operating organisation, Balkanu, to generate an awareness of business opportunities on the Cape, giving support to budding Cape York entrepreneurs and facilitates viable business ventures.  The Business Development arm provides supports for development of small and medium businesses in Cape York through activities such as offering advisory support to emerging Cape York entrepreneurs through mentoring, business workshops, mentoring programs, feasibility studies, marketing services, strategic evaluation, business planning, sourcing funding and other professional business support with a view to expand Cape York Aboriginal business ventures and increase the ability of individuals to achieve economic independence.

There were innumerable requests for assistance that Balkanu was instrumental in providing leadership direction to help Indigenous business with marketing and feasibility studies, business development and capacity building.  Some noteworthy cases are listed below.

  • Archer Point Land Trust feasibility studies on commercial development potentials
  • Aquaculture and Healthy water projects
  • Bakery and Café businesses
  • Beef production in Coen region
  • Burungu Aussie Spic N Span
  • Car Hiring business
  • Cape York Artists network
  • Cape York Dreaming Track tourism
  • Cape York Bio Fuel
  • Cattle Enterprise project
  • Coen Guesthouse and Property Management
  • Edward River Croc Farm
  • Eco-Tourism ventures
  • Fishing business
  • Forestry initiatives and feasibility studies
  • Gardening and landscape business
  • Hope Vale Horticulture projects
  • Indigenous Arts project to market local indigenous art and craft on websites
  • Iron Range Cabins in Pormpuraaw – preliminary assessment and development of accommodation
  • Laura Dance Festival
  • Land Trusts’ operations and improving capability
  • Low cost housing enterprise
  • Mossman Gorge Tourist Precinct
  • Mining industry
  • Puntimu outstation property management
  • Puchiwu Fishing company
  • Punsand Bay Camping Resort
  • Sawmill projects
  • Sewing and garment manufacture
  • Sundry goods and service station outlet
  • Tourism enterprises for local Indigenous people such as camping, cabin accommodation, motels
  • West Cape Earthmoving
  • Wind Farm development
  • Wuthumpul Cultural Centre

The Business Development team were active in providing commercial advisory and consultancy services to many aspiring Indigenous entrepreneurs in Cape York, some examples:

  • Annan River fishing charters business plan
  • Archer Point development with the Land Trust
  • Aurukun Business centre and Aurukun Women Sewing centre developments
  • Cairns Chamber of Commerce-Balkanu “Cairns to Cape” business link
  • Cape York Aboriginal Arts Products marketing program which promoted work of local indigenous artists and craftsmen
  • Clean Energy for Cape York feasibility study
  • Coen Guesthouse purchase and management
  • Dreaming Track Tourism project feasibility and development plan
  • Garraway Falls Bush camping business plan development
  • Hope Vale Banana Plantation
  • Horticulture farms with passion fruits, local vegetables and bush foods to commercial markets
  • Kalpowar Integrated Tourism scoping project
  • Lighthouse projects which delivered multiple training and employment opportunities as well as incubation of new businesses for Indigenous groups in Cape York
  • Local Cafes and Catering shops in various Cape York townships
  • Lockhart Airport-motel project planning
  • Lockhart River and Iron Range Cabin expansion plan
  • Mossman Gorge Gateway Tourism Precinct development
  • Nanum Tawap timber business
  • Punsand Bay financial and accounting support
  • Quintell Beach Development
  • Timber plantation research and investigation of potential forestry business
  • Weipa Multi-Purpose Centre support with operational and financial management
  • Western Cape Earthmoving support with governance and financial management
  • Wunthulpu Tourist Centre restoration and promotion

A brief summary of Balkanu’s  contributions were

Cape York Arts Marketing Project assisted Indigenous artists to display their work at the Cairns Airport Art Display.  Balkanu together with UMI Arts assisted with sourcing funding to engage a manager to help develop a corporate structure to support and promote work of Indigenous local artists.

Cape York Enterprise Stimulus was a project that Balkanu provided business consultation, mentorship and commercial business networking for small entrepreneurs in Cape York particularly in areas of tourism development such as offering of Vehicle-Hire, service stations, Cultural Tourism, provision of camping or motel facilities, boosting local retail sales.

Cattle Industry feasibility studies were conducted in regions of Aurukun and Coen where Balkanu has identified the viability of developing commercial cattle enterprises in partnership between Traditional Owners, Land Trusts and joint venture partners. Balkanu led significant consultations with pastoralists and Land Trusts and helped with market research, strategic advice, legal and financial management for infrastructure set up for profitable cattle production.

Dreaming Track – The DREAMING TRACK tourism project, which is still ongoing in its development, is envisaged to generate tourism revenue for Indigenous clans in Cape York.  The plan is to develop world class walking trails starting from Daintree in the south of Far North Queensland that will extend to the most northern tip of Cape York Peninsula. Eco-tourism and other small-scale Indigenous-owned enterprises will be established alongside the adventure trails, which are expected to attract a lot of domestic and international travellers.  The project will provide a robust commercial platform for Indigenous clans to participate in the tourism economy and generate wealth and improve their well-being.  The Department of Environment and Resource Management appointed Balkanu as project manager for initial feasibility investigation, to communicate with Indigenous Elders and the community so as to obtain meaningful input and ensure endorsement of the project by local stakeholders.

Balkanu assisted the the Gamaay Warra People to construct the first Dreaming Track – “Gaamay Walking Track”   in the Cooktown region.

Hope Vale Arts Centre and the Aurukun Sewing Group were given support to promote the crafts of local Indigenous with Balkanu also helped to source distribution channels for profitable sales.

Hope Vale Horticulture Project was among many horticultural projects that Balkanu provided business and technical mentorship to enable locals cultivate crops on their land to reap profitable produce.

Land Trusts organisations were supported by Balkanu team in capacity building, technical assistance, business planning, mentoring, feasibility assessment and development of new businesses, seeking resources and funding to enable Land Trust establishments pursue potential economic activities such as tourism, management of property and their country. Balkanu also provide support in seeking funding support, equity to initiate viable business programs, equip and guide Land Trust organisations to be accountable in financial accountability and regulatory compliance, record keeping and reporting.

Mossman Gorge Precinct – Balkanu was appointed by ILC as service provider, acting as Project Director for the development of the Mossman Gorge Training and Visitor Centre Development in 2009 in close collaboration with Bamanga Bubu Ngadimunku (BBN) leadership. Other sponsors were Queensland Department of State Development, Tourism Queensland, Environmental Protection Agency, Australian Government Indigenous Land Corporation, Westpac Corporation, Australian Government Department of Employment and Workplace Relationships, Australian Government Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, the Douglas Shire.

Balkanu was responsible to manager, supervise and take responsibility for all aspects of developing a business and marketing plan, contribute to, implement, monitor and report on the procurement of business services and products throughout the development of the Mossman Gorge Project.  Balkanu worked with Traditional Elders on the strategy of the transitioning of existing community businesses into the Visitor Centre of the Mossman Visitor Centre.  In addition Balkanu contributed to the delivery of capital works program, managed sub-contractors, meet with various steering committees and maintained communication lines with key stakeholders, managed day to day issues to ensure the Project achieves its objectives within specific timeframes.

The Project’s objective is to develop the Mossman Gorge Visitor centre that incorporate will incorporate transit facilities, guided  Dreamtime Walks, café, fine art gallery, rainforest art and artefact retail area, gift shop, ticket office, performance arenas, BBQ areas and Swimming holes for visitors.  It’s vision for the community is to build a sustainable and viable community that is proud of its land and its culture, at the same time the Project will improve social and economic health to the community through job creation, education in skills-building.

Pormpuraaw Accommodation feasibility assessments were facilitated by Balkanu to improve on tourist offerings and economic development for Pormpuraaw community, at the same time we assisted local businesses with evaluation of their existing business infrastructure, business planning, exploring new business opportunities for the Kiosk takeaway, Croc Farm, etc.

Wuthumpul Cultural Centre sought Balkanu’s assistance in improving their services to the public, with increased services in event organisation, boost up the display of local art and craft, as well as property management.  



FEASIBILITY STUDIES were conducted with pro-bono support from Corporate organisations. They assisted locals in Cape York Peninsula with investigating possible business ventures such as

  • Property management
  • Tourism facilities e.g. motels, camping grounds, tourist info centres
  • Indigenous tourism businesses – adventure tours and locations
  • Cape York Clean Energy
  • Wind Farm development
  • Horticulture business
  • Fruit farming
  • Start-ups for café business, service stations, vehicle hire, bakery
  • Art and Craft sales
  • Mossman Gorge tourist precinct
  • Low Cost Housing
  • Pastoral projects
  • Forestry and timber enterprises
  • Fishing business
  • Clean energy development
  • Dreaming Track recreational trails from Daintree to Cape Tribulation


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