The Indigenous Business Factsheet


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Indigenous AffairsEconomic Development
Friday, 21 July 2017
Publication author(s):
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Publication abstract:



PDF icon The Indigenous Business Factsheet669.13 KB

Key points

  • There are an estimated 2.1 million businesses in Australia, between 12,000-16,000 of these are Indigenous-owned
  • Collectively, Supply National registered Indigneous businesses earn more that $1 billion per year with revenues growing at an annual average rate of 12.5%
  • By the year 2026, an additional 73,250 Indigenous Australians will join the working ages of 20-44. Based on current Indigenous self-employment rates around 2,200 will start a business.

Graph showing that in 2011 more than twice as many Indigenous men (6,009) were self-employed than Indigenous women (2,891).

The rate of Indigenous self-employment compared with all other Australian businesses between 1991 and 2011. Indigenous self-employment has risen from 4,600 in 1991 to 12,500 in 2011 compared with an increase from 1.53 million to 2.13 million in all other Australian businesses.

Indigenous entrepreneurs are dominating services sector (43 per cent) and construction section (26 per cent), similar to non-Indigenous entrepreneurs (44 per cent in the services sector and 20 per cent in the construction sector).

Estimates of the number of Indigenous businesses in 2011 from the Census (8,900), Hunter (12,500) and in 2016 from PwC Indigenous Consulting (11,760 to 16,260).

Projected growth in the Indigenous working age population between 20–44 years growing by 73,250 in 2026. This is a 28 per cent increase from 2016.



Indigenous buinesses are concentrated in regional parts of the eastern states
Indigenous self-employed by capital city and rest of state, count, %7
State/Territory Region Indigenous business (count) % of total
NSW Greater Sydney 878 14%
NSW Rest of NSW 1,332 22%
VIC Greater Melbourne 230 4%
VIC Rest of Vic. 208 3%
QLD Greater Brisbane 4450 7%
QLD Rest of QLD 1,028 17%
SA Greater Adelaide 86 1%
SA Rest of SA 94 2%
WA Greater Perth 298 5%
WA Rest of WA 381 6%
TAS Greater Hobart 182 3%
TAS Rest of Tas. 381 6%
NT Greater Darwin 60 1%
NT Rest of NT 408 7%
ACT Australian Capital Territory 41 1%
TOTAL   6,057*  

The top 500 ORIC-registered Indigenous organisations are primarily located in NT (165, or 33%), WA (127 or 25.4%), QLD (95 or 19%) and NSW (66 or 13.2%).

Statistical snapshot of 697 Supply Nation registered businesses in 2014-15 9 showing: $1.15b total revenue generated, 12.5% annual average growth over 4 years 10, $1.65m average revenue per firm, and $463.9m industry value add.

Map showing the locations of infrastructure projects and the roughly 1,000 Supply Nation firms are mainly located on the east coast of Australia, concentrated in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

The revenue of 214 Supply Nation-registered Indigenous businesses grew from $424 million in 2009-10 to $680 million in 2013-14.

Mature Supply Nation registered businesses that have been operating for three or more years enjoy average annual revenues above $2 million, compared to average revenues of just under $500,000 for firms that have been operating for less than two years.

Construction businesses make up around 34% ($395.5 million) of the revenues generated by Supply Nation registered Indigenous businesses followed by Administrative and Support businesses (10% or $115.9 million) and Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste services (7% or $77.2 million).


Larger firms (20+ employees) contributed the most Industry value-add ($306.1 million by 70 firms), while 506 smaller businesses with 0-4 employees contributed $69.8 million.


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics Census of Population and Housing (2011)
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics Census of Population and Housing (2011) and B Hunter, ‘Recent Growth in Indigenous Self-Employed and Entrepreneurs’, CAEPR Working Paper No. 91/2013 (2013), Australian Bureau of Statistics 6105.0, Australian Labour Market Statistics (5 July 2011), Australian Bureau of Statistics 81650 Counts of Australian Businesses (26 February 2016)
  3. B Hunter, ‘Recent Growth in Indigenous Self-Employed and Entrepreneurs’, CAEPR Working Paper No. 91/2013 (2013)
  4. PwC Indigenous Consulting (2016) on behalf of Prime Minister and Cabinet
  5. Australian Bureau of Statistics – Indigenous Population Projections (7 November 2016)
  6. Australian Bureau of Statistics Census of Population and Housing (2011)
  7. PwC Indigenous Consulting, Australian Bureau of Statistics Census of Population and Housing (2011), prepared on behalf of PM&C
  8. Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations
  9. Australian Bureau of Statistics – Business Longitudinal Analysis Data Environment (2016) – Customised dataset based on Supply Nation registered Indigenous businesses prepared on behalf of PM&C. Due to long delays in receipt of BAS and Business income tax statements, the most recent complete set of financial data is from 2014-15.
  10. For 214 Indigenous businesses registered on Supply Nation which operated between 2009-10 to 2013-14.
  11. Supply Nation - Indigenous Business Direct

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