Today a joint Business Council of Australia (BCA) and Supply Nation event hosted by NAB saw over 100 representatives from Australian businesses discuss the future of supplier diversity in Australia and meet with Indigenous businesses.
“Supporting the development of the Indigenous business sector is one of the most important things we can do to drive Indigenous economic development,” said BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott.
In 2014 the BCA and Supply Nation signed a memorandum of understanding to forge new links – and strengthen existing links – between large mainstream businesses and Indigenous enterprises and entrepreneurs.
“There is enormous potential in this area,” said Supply Nation Chair and acting CEO Leah Armstrong, “Supply Nation now has 176 Members and 325 Certified Indigenous business suppliers and we hope to see that continue to grow as organisations realise the benefits of working with Indigenous businesses.
The announcement last week by Minister Scullion of a 3 per cent target for government spending on Indigenous business by 2020 is an encouraging boost for the sector. We look forward to working with the private and the public sectors to build a thriving Indigenous business community in Australia,” she concluded.
“Using Indigenous businesses in the supply chain is fast becoming as significant as Indigenous employment as a focus for BCA member companies.” Ms Westacott said.
“Over the last two years our members have spent $3.7 billion on Indigenous businesses and joint ventures. Last year, 71 per cent of BCA member companies used an Indigenous business in their supply chain, up from 63 per cent in 2013. Events like today will help those figures increase.”
The Melbourne event included a panel discussion featuring key Indigenous business groups, Indigenous Business Australia, Many Rivers microfinance, Nana Australia and Supply Nation.
The panel was followed by a meet-the-supplier session, with over 35 Indigenous business representatives.
Glen Brennan, Head of Indigenous Finance at NAB (the sponsor of the event) said that networking events helped the bank identify opportunities to enhance its commitment to Indigenous Australians.
“We all win when we support more people to participate in the economy. That’s why we are working to build partnerships that enable Indigenous businesses to grow and prosper. From the water we drink to the stationery we print on, there are so many ways that we can engage Indigenous businesses in our daily purchasing decisions.”
For all media enquiries contact:
Lorna Nolan, Senior Media and Communications Officer, Supply Nation, (02) 8332 7807, 0415 129 061
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs, Business Council of Australia, 0403 241 128