The owner of an Indigenous art and cyber-cafe who is planning to franchise the concept throughout Australia’s cultural tourism hotspots says he owes his business success to Charles Darwin University.
Glenn Bird recently completed a Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training through CDU’s Katherine campus as part of his plan to train staff for his business, the Didj Shop Internet Café.
He became interested in pursuing his own business after enrolling in a Certificate III in Business course at the NT Open College of TAFE, now Charles Darwin University, in 1991.
Having managed the Aboriginal artist Paddy Fordham who won a National Aboriginal Art Award in 1993, Glenn was keen to establish a business which would retain his place in the Aboriginal art world.
With the arrival of the internet in Katherine, Glenn was quick to register the domain name didj.com.au which he intended to use to sell didgeridoos to overseas retailers.
He developed a business plan in 1997 and rented his current premises in 1999, after the Katherine flood the previous year, drawing his initial plans for the business in chalk on the bare floor.
“I started the business knowing nothing about the internet but through my customers and studying information technology at CDU at night I was able to go on with the business.”
Glenn still maintains the website today.
He said his study through CDU has been invaluable.
“It helped me to make better business decisions and to survive.”
Glenn has an established market for the Indigenous paintings which light up the café walls and attract repeat customers.
“I’d like to think I help emerging artists through my business,” he said.
Glenn hopes to train staff so he can open Internet cafés in other Aboriginal art producing areas such as Darwin, Alice Springs, Kununurra, Wyndham and Broome and eventually sell art from different areas under a single brand.
He said he would have no hesitation recommending CDU as a vocational education and training provider.
“I don’t need to be convinced that CDU can do the training because I am a product of CDU.”
The new Certificate IV in Training and Assessment is a pre-requisite for people interested in undertaking a training role in their place of employment or the community.
For more information about studying at CDU, contact the Uni Info Shop on 1800 061 963.