Symposium creates Desert Business Opportunities

Desert knowledge from around the globe will spark debate and create new business opportunities at the Desert Knowledge Symposium and Business Showcase, which kicks off in Alice Springs tomorrow.

Architects and builders have a chance to find out what the traditional architecture of the Sahara can teach them about sustainable building for desert climates.

Dr Mohammed Sherzad, an architect from Ajman University in the United Arab Emirates, will share his knowledge of adapting buildings and settlement layouts to the beautiful but harsh desert environment.

US architect Gustaaf Brest Van Kempen will talk about building design in Tunisia and Algeria with members of the Desert Knowledge Australia Sustainable Buildings Network.

The symposium will also hear how the joint cross-border business networking pilot project by Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA) and the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) managed to generate millions of dollars of extra income for desert businesses.

International business clustering expert, Ifor Ffowcs-Williams, will talk about the rewards of getting competing businesses to collaborate across state and territory borders.

John Huigen, the CEO of DKA, says desert entrepreneurs from across Australia will share their networking success stories at the Business Showcase.

“Take Joel Butcher from Alliance Engineering in Broken Hill,” he said. ”Thanks to DKA’s Mining Services Network his and four other Broken Hill businesses were able to negotiate a $5 million contract which they could not have won on their own,” said Mr Huigen.

“Business networking helps desert people in industries such as bush foods, sustainable building, mining support services and tourism to network and share ideas even though they live thousands of kilometres apart.”

“We are leading cross-border networking in Australia, and communications technologies such as video conferencing play an important part in this success.”

Virtually linking desert people, wherever they are, is the subject of a symposium presentation by communications expert Tony Ladmore of CISCO Systems.

He will demonstrate how desert people can use the communication tools of tomorrow to grow their businesses.

The latest internet-based technologies on show at the symposium, such as web and audio conferencing, video calls, and instant messaging will play a crucial role in taking cross-border business networking to the next level.

Global Desert Opportunities: Desert Knowledge Symposium and Business Showcase takes place on November 1 – 3 at the Alice Springs Convention Centre.

This joint initiative by the Desert Knowledge CRC and Desert Knowledge Australia comes at the end of the International Year of Deserts and Desertification and Australia’s Year of the Outback.

Symposium sponsors: Indigenous Land Corporation, Commonwealth Departments of Transport and Regional Services and of the Environment and Heritage, Northern Territory Department of Business and Regional

Development, Western Australian Department of Local Government and Regional Development, Imparja Television, Tourism Australia, Newmont Australia, Alice Springs Town Council, Lhere Artepe, Power and Water Corporation and Bellette Media.