Indigenous Enterprise Partnerships

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IEP’s approach is based on five principles:

  • IEP supports Indigenous leadership to deliver their own strategies and vision;

  • IEP aims to foster Indigenous economic and social development by request in a way that encourages people to take responsibility for their own lives;

  • IEP seeks to build a network where Indigenous, government, corporate and philanthropic ideas can be shared;

  • Where feasible and appropriate, IEP Directors and staff directly support and advise Indigenous organisations;

  • Where IEP lacks the internal capability or capacity, we identify appropriate corporate or philanthropic partners and facilitate their engagement with the relevant Indigenous organisations.

IEP has been operating in Cape York in its current form since 2001. In 2006 we established an office in the Goulburn/Murray district of Victoria. In 2010 IEP commenced working in the Redfern/Waterloo area of Sydney and the East Kimberley region in Western Australia.

Its development was driven by a group of individuals who were inspired by Noel Pearson's Our Right To Take Responsibility (2000) which articulated the existence of 'passive welfare' in Indigenous communities and the need to create a 'real economy'.

IEP has used this as their underlying philosophy. Our objective is to foster economic and social development, focusing on long-term, sustainable impacts that would help break the cycle of welfare dependency.

The vision of establishing partnerships between corporate, private philanthropy and Indigenous leaders was formed and Cape York was selected as the first trial site. In line with this approach, corporate and philanthropic partners began working through, and in line with, the strategies and aspirations of the Indigenous leaders and their organisations.


"One of the main reasons why the Cape York agenda is at the cutting edge of Indigenous policy and why our unique combination of theoretical analysis, policy advocacy and practical implementation is showing promise, is because of our extraordinary partnerships with corporate and philanthropic Australia.

Indigenous Enterprise Partnerships have played a decisive role in our work in Cape York Peninsula. They gave us people from the private sector who have helped us to see beyond the welfare horizons that used to dominate Indigenous affairs when our sole source of input was Government. The combination of key organisations, their sustained commitment over a long period of time, the commitment of their most valuable resource - their people - makes IEP a new model for corporate-community partnerships aimed at tackling disadvantage."

Noel Pearson, Indigenous Leader, Cape York