Our Indigenous Business Sector in Australia
In the contemporary era, the development of a robust and sustainable ‘Indigenous economy’ is essential for realising self-determining futures, facilitating sustainable and independent communities, and closing the gap.
In line with the principle of self-determination, more Indigenous people than ever are seeking to achieve economic independence by contributing to the economy through the establishment of Indigenous businesses.
Evidence suggests that the recent growth in the Indigenous business sector has been influenced by a range of factors, including:
• Indigenous people seeking alternatives to traditional employment opportunities in order to provide for their families and communities
• developing local businesses to deliver needed services within their local communities
• increased access to government-funded programs that promote Indigenous economic development (eg Indigenous Business Australia and government procurement policies)
• the emergence of community-based mechanisms that promote Indigenous business development such as Supply Nation, Indigenous Chambers of Commerce, and the Global Corporate Network of Australia.3
Another factor contributing to the growth of the sector is that Indigenous businesses have a competitive advantage over non-Indigenous businesses in a number of current and emerging industries.4
For Indigenous businesses, the intrinsic knowledge contained within their unique cultures, and the immense opportunity associated with the use of Indigenous-owned and controlled lands, can be leveraged to contribute to commercial success.5
Indigenous businesses are more likely than non-Indigenous businesses to employ Indigenous workers and successful Indigenous businesses can create a ‘multiplier effect’ that in itself can foster further economic development and wealth creation.
Specifically, it can lead to a greater culture of employment and social contribution within Indigenous communities, and foster an environment which supports further innovation and opportunity by inspiring the next generation of Indigenous business owners.
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Opportunities for Indigenous people in business
Since the inception of the Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP), the Indigenous business sector has grown significantly.
The purpose of the Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP) is to leverage the Commonwealth’s annual multi-billion procurement spend to drive demand for Indigenous goods and services, stimulate Indigenous economic development and grow the Indigenous business sector.
The IPP was launched on 1 July 2015 and has three main parts:
- A target number of contracts that need to be awarded to Indigenous businesses.
- A mandatory set-aside for remote contracts and contracts valued between $80,000 – $200,000.
- Minimum Indigenous participation requirements in contracts valued at or above $7.5m in certain industries.