Jane Garrutju, Vending Machines

East Arnhem NT | December 2018

What is your business idea?
Opening up vending machines in my community to give people opportunity to get a drink or some food when the shops aren’t open or too far away.

Where did you get your business idea from?
I got the idea when I was interstate. I saw the vending machines and thought this would work back home. People can serve themselves whenever they are hungry or thirsty. Shops here are only open for short periods of time so a vending machine allows the community to self-serve.

What were you doing before you made contact with Many Rivers? What was your previous work experience?
I used to work, and I wanted to learn how business works. I am a council member for the Galiwin’ku Community Council. I have been chairing different departments for the last 10 years. Through my experience here I have learnt a lot about business and the benefit it brings to the community. From this I have seen how Indigenous businesses can help develop community and empower Indigenous people to be independent.

Who referred you to Many Rivers? When?
I saw some advertising and then some people from another community I was visiting mentioned Many Rivers and how they help Indigenous business’ get started. As soon as I heard about it I thought this is for me.

Why do you want to start this business?
I want to start a business that helps the community. Some people in the community have cars others don’t and they have a long way to walk with their kids to get to the shop. This allows people to get a drink without having to walk a long way. It also sets a good example. I’ll give kids some work, they can restock the machine, teaching them about business young. We can show the government that we can start and run our own businesses and help our community too. I want to be a good example.

How has Many Rivers helped you so far?
Many Rivers is one of the best supporters and encouragement to indigenous people helping us to run our businesses. They teach us the good and bad aspects of business and what to look out for. They teach me how to be strong, take opportunities and how to survive in business. Many Rivers walks and works alongside us and are here for the long run. Many Rivers gave me belief that I have a chance. Many Rivers helped me achieve something.

What has been the biggest challenge to date?
Getting set up has been a challenge. I need to get electricity to the site of the machine which is difficult because of how remote we are. Also getting through the legal work and tax work but Many Rivers has helped with all of this.

How do you think this business will change things for you and your family?
We didn’t have any income and it was really hard to get started. My husband suggested we talk to Many Rivers and just go for it. We chose this business to help our community. My family are really supportive. This business will give kids jobs and will teach them about how to run a business. My family can be involved in running the business. We can show the government that we are people with a vision and a dream and we can create opportunities that will benefit the whole community.

How will it impact your community?
It will work. It will save people form such long walks. It will show the community how business works.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?
Want to grow the business to more vending machines. It will grow in other communities, I will extend to the whole town and homelands.

There are ups and downs on the way, but we work through them as it will benefit the community and the family. We have to be strong and hold hands together and be in this for the long run. I have nephews and nieces and my son and his wife who are interested in business. We have other business ideas that we are speaking to Many Rivers about.

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