Celebrating NAIDOC week with new initiatives for Indigenous women in business

Release Date: 
13 July 2018
Media release
  • Launch of a new digital mentoring platform focused on helping Indigenous women in regional and remote areas get into business.
  • New partnership between Indigenous Business Australia and Lendlease to get more Indigenous businesses into Lendlease’s supply chain

A new digital platform to help more Indigenous women get into business and a new public-private partnership with Lendlease to support more Indigenous businesses win contracts with Lendlease have been launched today by the Turnbull Government during NAIDOC Week celebrations.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, announced these new initiatives at a breakfast panel of Indigenous businesswomen in Sydney, hosted by Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), as part of NAIDOC week’s theme of “Because of Her, We Can”. 

“It was fantastic to listen to the panel discussion with Marcia Edwards, Alison Page, Dionne Connolly and Alana Kennedy today about the challenges and pathways for success for Indigenous women in business,” Minister Scullion said.

At this event, the Minister launched a new digital mentoring platform to support Indigenous women in business. Utilising extensive video content featuring leading Indigenous business women, the mentoring platform will offer Indigenous women from the most remote parts of Australia to regional and urban areas a range of business modules, as well as the opportunity to connect with one another and harness each other’s experiences and wisdom.

“This platform is a first of its kind in Australia for Indigenous businesswomen who are looking to build their networks and share their experiences and is part of our commitment to supporting Indigenous women into business.

This initiative follows the recent ‘Strong Women Strong Business’ conference in Adelaide, which brought together more than 200 Indigenous women for the first time and was about building networks and ensuring Indigenous women are well placed to take advantage of the opportunities the Government is creating for the Indigenous business sector.   

“The Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP) has supercharged the Indigenous business sector, driving growth in the demand for the goods and services of Indigenous businesses.

“Prior to the IPP, Indigenous businesses were all but locked out of Commonwealth contracts – with only 30 Indigenous businesses winning just $6.2 million in 2012-13. Since the IPP was introduced in July 2015, over 1000 Indigenous businesses have won over $1.084 billion in contracts, creating new opportunities for Indigenous businessmen and women across the country.

IBA Chair, Mr Eddie Fry, a Dagoman-Wardaman man from the Katherine region said IBA was meeting the demand for Indigenous businesses created by the Commonwealth, with record investments in the sector.

“Over the past 12 months, IBA has deployed a record amount of capital across its areas of work, close to $400 million. This includes approximately $50 million in business finance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who are starting or growing small businesses, including over 350 instances of business finance,” Mr Fry said.

“We have invested over $13.5 million in Indigenous start-ups and entrepreneurs, through 62 start-up packages and supporting 30 participants in accelerator programs, many of whom are women.

Minister Scullion also launched a new partnership between IBA and Lendlease to support more Indigenous businesses into Lendlease’s supply chain.

“Lendlease already has an impressive commitment to Indigenous procurement through their Gymea Indigenous Supplier Diversity Program and this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will mean that IBA will support Indigenous businesses looking to win work in Lendlease’s very substantial supply chain and connect them directly with Lendlease.

“This is great example of the IPP in action. Under the IPP, the Commonwealth requires major contractors for government works to procure from Indigenous businesses and employ Indigenous Australians.

“In the last two years, there 56 companies that are now required to meet a minimum target for Indigenous employment or supplier use and ensure Indigenous Australians gain skills and economic benefit from some of the larger pieces of work the Government outsources, including Lendlease.


The four women who spoke at the panel were:

  • Marcia Edwards, Director of the Cryogenics Group.
  • Alison Page, Film and TV Producer, Zacpage.
  • Dionne Connolly, Director, Western Labour Hire.
  • Alana Kennedy, Founder, Ochre Bloke.