Meet Nicholas, the small business owner of Utingu Security Company in the Torres Strait, QLD.
Nicholas recognised that his community had a need for a local security business, and so he put hours of work and training into upskilling himself prior to setting up his business. Along with his son, Jarrah, Nicholas went all the way up to Cairns to get security experience working for another security company so that Utingu Security Company could be recognised as a reliable, local, Indigenous security business when they opened for business.
“The most useful part of Rita’s support was her expertise and her own personal experience with developing businesses. She knows the expectations of running a business and understand finances and taxes.”
Read more about Nicholas’ business journey with the Utingu Security Company.
I set up a local security business in the North Peninsula Area and Torres Strait Island region. I registered the company last year, in 2021.
Previously, I worked at my local Aboriginal Corporation, Ipima Ikaya Aboriginal Cooperation, as the Project Officer.
Before I registered my company, I did 1,000 hours of unpaid work on my business to get recognition and respect as a local company. Once I had that respect, I reached out to Many Rivers. I invested a lot of my own time and money into this business to get the skills and qualifications to provide the best quality security service to my region.
I wanted to go into business and create this security business. I wanted to provide a security service within my region to assist my community to be healthier and safer. A security business was something that I noticed our community needed.
Utingu is our family’s land, on Simpson Bay, and it is our family land, so that is the reason why we named our business Utingu. During our first meeting with my business coach, Rita, we took her out there to show her our country.
The vision statement for my company is for ‘safer and healthier communities and to respect our togetherness’. Our motto is ‘respect, unity and togetherness’.
Working with Many Rivers
I heard about Many Rivers when I created this company and spoke to my trainer, who was teaching me security. She recommended that I reach out to Many Rivers to develop my security company. I contacted the Client and Community Support Team and they referred me on to Rita who is the Many Rivers business coach in the Torres Strait Island region.
In our initial meeting, Rita and I talked about my mission statement, and from there, we worked on getting my ideas on paper so that we could develop a business plan.
Many Rivers has been very supportive towards me and my business. Rita has been supporting me with my paperwork, teaching me about the budget and finances, how to give quotes and highlighting the things that I need for the company, such as office equipment. Rita did several workshop-like sessions with me on finance and bookkeeping. She also helped me with my insurance.
The most useful part of Rita’s support was her expertise and her own personal experience with developing businesses. She knows the expectations of running a business and understand finances and taxes.
After finalising the business plan and doing a few workshops with Rita, I got a Many Rivers loan. It was for office equipment, PPE and business insurance.
I brought my son, Jarrah, along with me on this journey to give him this experience in establishing a business.
After we had set up the business, got registered and sorted out our insurance, it took some time and patience to wait for contracts to come through. It was hard to gain hands-on experience and build a positive reputation. We had to move away from our region and do some work in Cairns. Now that we have experience, we have recognition as a company. It looks like we will have some work with the local council, and we will get some work as a private, locally owned, Indigenous security firm.
Having our own company on our own traditional country is something that I am really proud of.
Biggest Change Since Starting Utingu Security Company
The biggest change is demonstrating your work ethics every day. You must be professional and be willing to do the hard yards. You must do that extra work because it’s your own company.
I would like to have our firm based on our country but having marine patrols to the different tropical islands. It’s about security for our local islands for illegal squatting. We can be the eyes and ears of the region.
Thanks Nicholas for sharing your business journey. Your story will inspire people who are looking to take their next step towards creating their own business.
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