Indigenous Business

Victoria’s only Aboriginal certified print manufacturer pushes through COVID-19 challenges

VICTORIA'S only 100 percent Indigenous-ertified social enterprise owned and operated print manufacturing company, Currency Print And Corporate Communications (CPCC) recently welcomed the Federal Government's $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy -- and went to work.

The Federal Government’s 2020-21 Budget included the $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy, which aims to help Australian manufacturers to become more competitive, build resilient supply chains and grow. 

"We welcome the announcement of this initiative which aims to support Australian manufacturers to be recognised as a high-quality and sustainable helping to deliver a strong, modern and resilient economy for all Australians," CPCC CEO Sara Stuart said.

However, she said, funds have currently been suppressed from the manufacturing with only $40 million allocated for this financial year from the Federal Government’s proposed $1.5 billion. She warned Australia was in its first recession in three decades and businesses were begging for support, but government bureaucracy and red tape appeared to be getting in the way. 
"While we welcome this initiative, we also recognise that it is limited in its scope and short-sighted in its timing, providing almost nothing to the sector at a time when we need to restructure and rebuild," Ms Stuart said. "The strategy fails to provide supply chain support to the priority industry sectors.

"Without strong and viable local supply chains these industries will still need to seek off-shore suppliers in order to be competitive and successful. This scheme does nothing to address this issue, which ultimately weakens our manufacturing sector and economy.

"We believe that more pressure should be applied to ensure print manufacturing stays here in Australia instead of government buying from overseas suppliers. We have enough print manufacturers here in Australia to service the sector, however, without the support, more jobs will be lost," Ms Stuart said. 

"We are not asking anyone to increase their print spend, just spend it here with Australia business and give the Aboriginal printers a fair go. We are not asking for a handout, We just want to be given the opportunity to help government and corporate clients meet their procurement targets."

Many government bodies and large corporates have procurement targets for engaging with Indigenous businesses.

According to Ms Stuart, manufacturing is a powerful Australian economic force, despite the low prioritisation from government over recent decades, the value of which has been proven in Japan after World War Two and more recently in China where most of today's products are manufactured. Manufacturing aroudn the world has created trillions of revenue, millions of jobs and lifted more people out of poverty in recent years -- but in Australia the sector has been in decline and the folly of that has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic's ramifications.


Data shows Indigenous procurement targets working

THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell said Indigenous businesses secured more than $850 million in Commonwealth contracts in 2019/20, proving that procurement targets are working.

According to figures from the National Indigenous Australians Agency, more than 900 Indigenous businesses won 7,749 Commonwealth contracts valued at $857 million in total during the 2019/20 financial year.

“The Federal Government has exceeded its annual Indigenous procurement targets which is helping to support this fast-growing sector,” Ms Carnell said.

“According to data from Supply Nation, the number of Indigenous businesses is growing by 12.5 percent each year, which goes to show how effective procurement targets can be when adopted by governments.

“Encouragingly, the number of Indigenous-owned businesses is projected to grow from 16,000 to 18,000 by 2026. This is good for the sector and good for our economy more broadly.

“We know that every dollar spent with an Indigenous business goes a long way. According to Supply Nation, for every $1 of revenue, certified Indigenous suppliers generate $4.41 of social return," Ms Carnell said. 

“Procuring from Indigenous businesses is an investment in both Indigenous employment and economic development, with Indigenous businesses 100 times more likely to employ other indigenous staff.

NAIDOC Week is a time when we celebrate Indigenous culture, but we should also be recognising the significant contribution indigenous people make to the Australian business community and to our economy.”

ASBFEO has published a series of Indigenous Success Stories, profiling a number of inspiring indigenous business owners.

Kate Carnell’s NAIDOC Week 2020 video message: click here.



Boosting resources opportunities boosts Indigenous staff

QUEENSLAND Resources Council has welcomed the extended commitment from the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships  to work with QRC and its members to boost employment opportunities for Indigenous Queenslanders.

“Our members, whether they are coal, metal and gas explorers and producers or their suppliers, are providing more opportunities for Indigenous Queenslanders, not just for a job in resources, but for a fulfilling career,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.

He said the department’s extended commitment to the partnership, first forged 12 years ago, would help ensure the resources sector continued to be a leader in providing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.  

“The proportion of Indigenous Queenslanders working in the resources sector is on par with the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living in Queensland – 4 percent," Mr Macfarlane said.

“It’s important that we have the continued support of the Queensland Government, and the department.  I welcome the extended commitment and QRC looks forward to continuing to build upon the proud record."

Mr Macfarlane said the annual QRC Indigenous Awards would be held on November 30. The awards celebrate the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to the Queensland resources sector and set up ongoing networking and career opportunities for applicants and award winners.


HESTA hits mining and energy industries up to prevent 'another Juukan Gorge Caves'

HESTA, the health and community servicews superannuation fund, is calling for the mining and energy industries to adopt consistent principles for engaging with Indigenous communities. HESTA claims investors are concerned risks are appropriately managed, in the wake of the destruction of the Juukan Gorge Caves in Western Australia by Rio Tinto.

HESTA has released a Statement on Working with Indigenous Communities detailing its investor expectations around how companies manage risks associated with Indigenous heritage protection issues and has written to 14 Australian mining and energy companies.

HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said the $52 billion industry super fund had informed the companies HESTA was embarking on a direct engagement program on this issue. 

The engagement program will focus on understanding how companies have properly assessed and mitigated risks, how closely this aligns to their public statements and where the accountability for these actions rest. The results of meetings will inform how the fund could use shareholder resolutions or voting to seek change.  

“We are committed to engaging with companies to understand how they are managing these issues, and we will consider using our voting rights where we identify the need for improved practices and disclosure,” Ms Blakey said.

Ms Blakey said investors were dismayed at the destruction of culturally significant sites at Juukan Gorge by Rio Tinto.

“Not only was priceless heritage destroyed and the costs borne by shareholders as a result, but we had believed this risk to be well managed in our portfolio,” she said.

“This has prompted us to renew our focus on ensuring fair and sustainable outcomes for Indigenous communities and companies.

“Our statement is also something we hope will help other investors and encourage collaboration so we can work together to push for change,” Ms Blakey said.

“What occurred with Rio is a wake-up call for all investors. It has caused us to review how we are assessing company performance in this area and how we can more effectively advocate for legislative and regulatory change.

“Global investors like HESTA are concerned that engagement with Traditional Owners is well managed wherever companies operate. Through this statement we also hope to encourage collective investor action to amplify the positive impact we can have here in Australia and internationally.”

The Statement is based on the principle that Indigenous Peoples own and determine the value of their tangible and intangible heritage and control that heritage and determine who has access to it.

Ms Blakey said HESTA expected company boards to have oversight of how companies monitor shifting societal expectations and if decisions made in the past remain appropriate.

“Investors expect companies to think strategically about future opportunities and risks that may impact their businesses. Likewise, they should also be thinking about how changing societal expectations may impact their decisions around heritage and community engagement.”


Barayamal shows Indigenous start-ups how to fly

By Leon Gettler >>

INDIGENOUS entrepreneurs are a growing group.  Dean Foley, who set up Australia's first Indigenous-focused start-up accelerator, Barayamal, said they are “coming from all over the place”.

Barayamal has been developing many Indigenous start-ups. They emerge from unexpected places and there is a wide range of Indigenous start-ups.

While some might think the only Indigenous start-ups are land-based agriculture businesses or art companies, they are, in fact, exploring unexpected areas.

Barayamal’s accelerator program had developed one cyber security business that had been making hundreds of thousands dollars consulting and then created a digital product. 

There was also a company that developed the technology and algorithms to help people save on medical costs by using their smart phone camera to take pictures of their teeth, for early diagnosis.

Then there was another start-up that was selling Indigenous fashion online.

“A lot of them are trying to focus on the broader community and market their products instead of just trying to sell to other Indigenous people,” Mr Foley told Talking Business.


Barayamal means ‘Black Swan’ in Kamilaroi language. Black swans were first seen by Europeans in 1697. Dean Foley said he chose the name to show that Indigenous businesses were different.

Proof, he said, was in the way the Indigenous entrepreneurial community was growing.

“It’s one of the fastest growing demographics in Australian business,” Mr Foley said.

He said there are now 8000 Indigenous businesses more than a decade ago.

“It’s the fastest growing (sector) compared to non-Indigenous entrepreneurship,” Mr Foley said. 

“However, because of disadvantage and everything that’s happened over the last 200 years, Indigenous entrepreneurs are still three or four times less likely to be self-employed compared to the national average – but there is good stuff happening with Indigenous entrepreneurship.

“Also with land rights and all that kind of stuff coming in in the past 20 years, approximately 40 percent of Australia’s land mass has been returned to Indigenous control which is obviously helping create assets and wealth in the community to try and combat poverty and the massive disparity gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.”


Mr Foley said Indigenous businesses still struggled to raise capital and there was a massive disparity gap.

“A lot of Indigenous people haven’t got inter-generational wealth,” Mr Foley said. “We can’t borrow from our parents because they have no money and they don’t own a house …”

Nor do they have the kind of relationship with banks that non-Indigenous businesses have.

“Banks generally make most of th eir money from mortgages and for any Australian to get a business loan, you need to have collateral because they’re very risk averse about entrepreneurship and maybe more so with Indigenous entrepreneurship, with stereotypes and that kind of stuff. Indigenous entrepreneurs might be perceived as more risky.”

Mr Foley said Indigenous start-ups were no different from other start-ups, starting small and building up from there.

One of the key differences was that more Indigenous businesses were practising social entrepreneurship

“It’s more community focused and the profits go back into running programs and making an impact, whereas commercial businesses are – generally speaking – there to make money for shareholders and that kind of stuff,” he said.

“It’s different focuses and that’s what I see as the difference between Indigenous and non-Indigenous entrepreneurship.

“Indigenous entrepreneurship is probably very similar top social entrepreneurship, although Indigenous entrepreneurship has been around for a lot longer,” Mr Foley said.


Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at



Indigenous business accelerator fires up with $50k grants in Victoria

THE WORLD’S FIRST Indigenous Accelerator was run by Barayamal in November 2016, continuing in successive years and now Barayamal is organising its second accelerator based in Victoria from September 7, 2020, with support from LaunchVic.

Five innovative First Nations businesses will be selected for the Barayamal Accelerator at the Victorian Innovation Hub. 

The three-month program will support First Nations businesses to break through the COVID-19 challenges to grow their businesses by providing mentoring and training by industry experts, $50,000 in grant funding, and an opportunity to showcase their businesses at the national Demo Day and Awards event on November 27.

"I really liked the accelerator program,” 2019 Barayamal Accelerator participant Kayla Cartledge from Our Songlines said. “We’ve got an amazingly strong community built on trust and cultural principles ... the connections we made were everlasting.”

Another 2019 Barayamal Accelerator participant, Niyoka Bundle from Pawa Catering and Events said, “We've met other really great Indigenous entrepreneurs, shared our experiences and learnt from each other.”

Stewart Stacey from Binary Security, another 2019 Barayamal Accelerator participant said, “Just in the half an hour after receiving the award, I had many people walk up to me saying that they thought we'd done a really good job and they could see the message and they can see the value and they want to help.

“I've got a pocketful of business cards that I can't wait to get back home and start calling. And, and you know, making these contacts and building these relationships ... just been unbelievable. It’s gone past what I thought it would be ... and I'm very proud and honoured to be a part of it.”

Barayamal founder Dean Foley believes First Nations entrepreneurship can change the world for the better.  

“We do this by running an Indigenous business accelerator, free events, the Indigipreneur podcast, school-based education, building technology solutions and by investing time and funding Indigenous startups, which are the high-growth economic and employment solution,” Mr Foley said.

Barayamal means ‘black swan’ in Gamilaraay language. Black swans were first seen by Europeans in 1697 but before that, Europeans had only known of a white swan.

“In this instance, the black swan represents Indigenous entrepreneurs who have not been noticed in the world for their innovative businesses,” Mr Foley said. “Barayamal plans to show the world that Indigenous entrepreneurs exist and they can also build global businesses.”

He also thanked LaunchVic for the support it gives to Barayamal and its various programs.


Barayamal opens up virtual business accelerator to support First Nations entrepreneurship

AS AUSTRALIAN entrepreneurs adapt their business models to a world of remote working and disruption, Barayamal is taking its business accelerator programs online to continue supporting First Nations entrepreneurs.

"The Barayamal Virtual Accelerator has launched, which is open to First Nations people who are interested in learning how to take their business to the next level and take control of their future - self-determination through First Nations entrepreneurship," Barayamal CEO Dean Foley said. 

First Nations entrepreneur Mr Foley said the the digital economy has the potential to be a gamechanger for First Nations people and communities. 

“Barayamal programs are about inspiring and supporting the next generation of First Nations entrepreneurs," Mr Foley said. "It’s essential to keep supporting First Nations entrepreneurship development in this disruptive and fast-changing global economy because there will be new opportunities arising from these challenging times that can benefit our communities.

"Traditional or grassroots First Nations Entrepreneurship can change the world for the better,” he said.

The free 10-week business accelerator program will provide weekly mentoring and one-on-one coaching support along with a workbook and other resources to accelerator business growth.

In addition, participants who graduate will also receive a digital accreditation in 'First Nations Entrepreneurship' for their hard work and dedication, Mr Foley said.


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