There are as many as 14,000 Indigenous businesses across the country, employing more than 60,000 people and accounting for as much as $8.8 billion in annual revenue, according to Supply Nation.
"We support Indigenous businesses from 64 different industries, with 51 per cent being female led. From construction to arts, entertainment, and consulting, almost everything!” – Alex Martins, Kinaway
This has grown exponentially in the last decade, with a 74 per cent increase in the number of Indigenous businesses. But what sets Indigenous businesses apart from those in the broader non-Indigenous community and how do organisations like the Kinaway Chamber of Commerce help?
Motivation and community
Recent Supply Nation research shows one of the key distinctions lies in their motivations. While many businesses are usually driven by shareholders expecting dividends, Indigenous businesses are often view the community as one of their shareholders.
This emphasis on community support and accountability generates a ripple effect that fosters skill development, local employment and business opportunities. Moreover, it creates a reservoir of positive entrepreneurial role models for younger members of the community.
Beyond the cultural and social needs of communities, Indigenous businesses also yield significant financial benefits. By growing their revenues, local businesses enhance the broader economic landscape through providing jobs, products, revenue and services to communities.
According to Supply Nation, an Indigenous business is 100 times more likely to hire Indigenous workers compared with a non-Indigenous business.
This potential to develop strong business fundamentals in future generations, the ability to sustain professional networks and the means to build wealth carries an immeasurable impact. It can help dismantle long-standing barriers and set in motion a positive cycle of social and economic empowerment.
However, despite commendable advancements, motivations and community support, like any other business owner, the Indigenous business owner’s journey is not without challenges.
A common issue faced by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses in Australia can be building scale from the start-up phase. This challenge can be acutely felt within the Indigenous community.