• By Desiree Leha

Joint Ventures: Have you done your due diligence?

Updated: Aug 10

Are you an Indigenous entrepreneur, organisation or prescribed body corporate considering a joint venture? Do you know how to identify the right joint venture arrangement for you?

Joint ventures or collaborations with other business entities are great for sharing resources, building capacity, tapping into new networks, and forging new relationships to attain employment opportunities.

However, whether the joint venture is project-specific or a long-term collaboration, it is important that before sharing your resources, skills, expertise or cultural knowledge, you consider the following fundamental questions and undertake appropriate Due Diligence:

  • Who are you going into business with and do their values, practices and visions align with yours?

  • What is the common goal or mutual benefit of the joint venture?

  • What is everyone bringing to the table?

  • What structure of joint venture best suits your circumstances?

  • Who is managing the day-to-day operations?

  • What is the decision-making process and organisational structure?

  • How will disputes be resolved?

  • How will the Intellectual Property and Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property (ICIP) of the entity, and each joint venture partner, be protected?

  • Are there measures in place to protect confidentiality of information or practices?

  • Are there restraint of trade and termination avenues available for the parties?

These considerations are relevant for all types of joint ventures, whether it is informal or registered as a company. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) can be entered into at the discussion stages which outlines the preliminary answers to the questions outlined above and ensures confidentiality of negotiations.

Once the decision to go ahead with a joint venture is made, it is important that a formal Joint Venture Agreement or Shareholders Agreement is developed between the parties, so that the responsibilities and expectations of all parties are clearly articulated before going into business together.

Indigenous businesses should consider the options available, do their research on their joint venture partners and assess the benefits and risks of such arrangements.

Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) has teamed up with Terri Janke and Company to offer FREE Law Way: Joint Ventures and the Law workshops which cover all the essentials of joint ventures and provide invaluable insight from experienced professionals. Please contact TJC for upcoming sessions if you are interested: http://www.terrijanke.com.au/2019ibaworkshops

Helpful resources:

Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), Joint Ventures info guide: https://www.iba.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/Indigenous_JV_InfoGuide.pdf

TJC Law Way workshops: http://www.terrijanke.com.au/lawway-workshops

© 2020 Terri Janke and Company

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