Flourishing Indigenous business sector increasing its market share

Flourishing Indigenous business sector increasing its market share

Indigenous Affairs Economic Development Indigenous Procurement Policy
Thursday, 14 February 2019

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

A young women listens intently to an Indigenous business man who is speaking about his print products at a trade fair. Many people are moving around them.

From badges and wristbands to life saving medical training, the Indigenous Business Trade Fair at Parliament House on Tuesday showed how the sector had risen to the challenge of increasing its market share of Government procurement business.

Ricky Bryan of Supply Nation, which presented the trade fair with the Department of Parliamentary Services, said there was a vast array of services and goods on offer for purchase.

'Hundreds of people have come through the door wanting to work with Indigenous businesses,' he said.

'The breadth of businesses is amazing - from IAS Logistics which can move priceless artworks while taking care of humidity, to stationary providers and cryogenics services. The message is; don’t assume there’s not someone who can do the work for you who is Indigenous because there could well be.'

The Commonwealth’s Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP), launched in July 2015, set down a target for the number of contracts to be awarded to Indigenous businesses. It also detailed a mandatory set-aside for remote contracts and contracts valued between $80,000 and $200,000 and minimum participation requirements in contracts valued at or above $7.5 million in certain industries.

It has significantly boosted the amount of business done between Government departments and Indigenous businesses - over 1400 Indigenous businesses have won 11,933 contracts valued at more than $1.83 billion since July 2015.

Account director of recruitment business Onpoint 365, Susan O’Neil, said the business would never have started up if not for the introduction of the IPP.

'We offer learning and development training as well as recruitment and we have done business with the Australian Taxation Office, Department of Human Services and the Australian Federal Police,' she said.

'Our business would not exist if not for the IPP. We would not have gone into it against multinationals because it’s too competitive, but we’ve put our effort into it and have been able to grow from a turnover of about $500,000 in our first year to about $7 million this year."

There is a vertical picture of a woman wearing a black dress who is smiling. There are 3 smaller pictures next to her of colourful wristbands, badges and lanyard holders.

Indigenous businesses representatives travelled from all corners of Australia to meet procurement officers from Federal Government departments and speak about how they could further engage with the needs of the Commonwealth.

Managing Director of Ochre Dawn Creative Industries, Rebecca Wessels, presented a colourful range of badges, lanyard holders and other keepsakes.

'We ensure that all the artwork is ethically sourced and our customers can have confidence in what they are getting,’ she said.

Director of business solutions for Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), Stella DeCos, said it was encouraging to see so many new and familiar faces.

'The IBA does a lot of skills and capacity development with small businesses,' she said.

'With Indigenous businesses, the social impact they have is really important. The generational change these businesses are creating for their families and communities is a big one. They are commercially viable, they are Indigenous and they are standing up against other businesses in the sector. They are here because they are looking for long term opportunities to work with Government.'

The trade fair was funded by the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.

Find out more about the Indigenous Procurement Policy.