Women still make up a minority of entrepreneurs, but they are gaining ground quickly.
In Australia women represent only 34 per cent of entrepreneurs, but the number of female entrepreneurs is growing at a faster rate than for men.
Endemic poverty and sexual abuse are problems for the remote community of Tennant Creek and business owner Karen Sheldon warns "things are not getting better".
Sheldon started her first catering business in 1982 and in 2006 established Karen Sheldon Catering in partnership with three of her staff.
"What began as a small restaurant in Tennant Creek has now grown to a company with four different divisions and we have started Salt Bush social enterprise which is the future of our business," says Sheldon.
Karen Sheldon Catering employs 100 staff and has a turnover of more than $12 million but Sheldon says Salt Bush is now her main focus.
"We want to share our business experience and practical hospitality skills with Indigenous organisations and Indigenous entrepreneurs themselves over the next three years," she says. "The problems in Tennant Creek won't be solved with royal commissions or research, it will be solved by working with the people, one person at a time, one family at a time, one community at a time. We have helped 2500 people to a working future and a life that gets them off welfare. We know what works."
"In 1969 when I first went from Melbourne to the territory I ran out of money and got a job as a cook at the Barrow Creek pub. I met the amazing Kaititj Aboriginal people who made me feel so welcome and taught me their ways. It was the first time I had anything to do with Aboriginal people but the thing that struck me was I came to the NT with the shirt on my back and made a life for myself, yet the first Australians who made me so welcome were dying around me and dying much more quickly than they should. I started to develop a social conscience."
"Over the years of being a restaurateur we have won lots of awards but the biggest influence for me was being awarded the medal of the Order of Australia last year, which motivates me to use our growing profile and the profile of our business towards more and more social programs."
"We must look at the very best ways of using technology to achieve whatever we see is vital for helping the country. For me that's using digital technology and the smaller world we are in to deal with remote social issues. There is a job for every single Australian in their own homeland we just have to use technology to its best advantage. We have to become the smart country as well as the lucky country."