A new roadmap for growth of the Indigenous business sector

Release Date: 
12 February 2018
Media release

Australia’s first comprehensive roadmap for growing the Indigenous business sector – the Indigenous Business Sector Strategy – has been launched today in the next phase of our commitment to supporting Indigenous jobs and small businesses.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said that the Coalition Government’s highly successful Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP) has been driving strong growth in demand for Indigenous goods and services.

“The IPP has changed the entire landscape of the Indigenous business sector. Since its introduction in July 2015, over 1000 Indigenous businesses have won over $1 billion in Commonwealth contracts – a phenomenal success given that in 2012-13 Indigenous businesses were winning $6.2 million,” Minister Scullion said.

“Data from the 2016 Census shows the IPP is overseeing unprecedented growth in the Indigenous business sector. Since the 2011 Census, the number of Indigenous businesses has grown by 30 per cent compared to just a 1 per cent increase in non-Indigenous businesses.

“These IPP firms have an average Indigenous workforce of 41 per cent compared to just 0.7 per cent in non-Indigenous businesses – meaning our IPP is getting Indigenous jobseekers into employment by almost 60 times the average rate.

“To meet this massive growth in the sector, the Coalition Government made an election commitment to develop a roadmap of support services that the Indigenous business sector would need to continue the growth trajectory.

“Since the election, the Government has consulted with over 200 Indigenous businessmen and women across the country, who have co-designed this blueprint for the growth of their sector – the Indigenous Business Sector Strategy.

Today, the Government is announcing a range of new measures as part of the Indigenous Business Sector Strategy:

  • The establishment of Indigenous Business Hubs anchored to major cities – a one-stop-shop for business advice and support – starting in Western Sydney in partnership with the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council.
  • A $27 million Indigenous Entrepreneurs Capital Scheme to unlock a range of finance and capital products for Indigenous businesses who are transitioning to mainstream banking.
  • Doubling the microfinance footprint across Australia to support more entrepreneurial activity and economic development especially among young people and women, and in regional and remote locations.  
  • Specific support for Indigenous businesses that wish to take advantage of our record investment in major infrastructure projects.

The success of the Strategy is reliant on a strong partnership between the Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia.

This builds on the $90 million Indigenous Entrepreneurs Fund that is helping Indigenous businesses purchase plant and equipment and the refocused $55 million Business Development Assistance Program, delivered by Indigenous Business Australia.

“The Coalition Government understands that a strong, diverse and sustainable Indigenous business sector is key to empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, and placing Indigenous business owners, their families and communities in the driver’s seat of their economic future.

The Strategy is available at the PM&C website.