Growing Australia’s Indigenous Business Sector
A strong, diverse and self-supporting Indigenous business sector is key to empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, and placing Indigenous Australians in the driver's seat of their economic future. This is particularly the case in rural and remote Australia where small and micro businesses support jobs and wealth creation.
In 2015, the Australian Government introduced the Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP), putting in place a target for Commonwealth agencies to award three per cent of contracts to Indigenous businesses.
Since the policy launched, over 1,000 Indigenous businesses have won more than $1.084 billion in Commonwealth contracts. These Indigenous businesses are much more likely to employ other Indigenous Australians, with an average Indigenous employment rate of 39 per cent.
To help ensure the IPP leads to long-lasting, intergenerational change, the Australian Government is also investing in improving access to business support, capital and networks for Indigenous Australians.
Launched in February 2018, the Indigenous Business Sector Strategy sets out a 10-year plan to improve access to business and financial support for Indigenous businesses.
The Strategy is a practical approach, outlining the steps that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, government, and the private sector will take to support Indigenous entrepreneurs realise their ambitions, and take their rightful place in the domestic and international economy.
Key measures to be rolled out in the first three years Include:
- Establishment of Indigenous Business Hubs, anchored to major cities, providing a one-stop-shop to access better business advice, support and connections. Services may also include advice on importing and exporting, and international investment. The first Hub will be located in Western Sydney.
- Piloting an Indigenous Entrepreneurs Capital Scheme to unlock a wide range of finance and capital products for Indigenous businesses looking to transition to mainstream banking.
- Expanding the microbusiness support and microfinance footprint across Australia to support more entrepreneurial activity and economic development in regional and remote locations.
For the strategy to succeed, it must be Indigenous-led. Over 200 stakeholders were consulted during the design of the Strategy. Its implementation will be overseen by an Indigenous Business and Economic Advisory Council, who will ensure that actions under the strategy continue to meet the needs of this rapidly evolving sector.