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Indigenous business strength recognised at annual awards

Grace Crivellaro -

Proud Indigenous businesses have taken home awards recognising their outstanding achievements at the annual Indigenous Business Month awards.

This year's theme was 'Invigorate, Build, Maintain to keep our sector strong' which focused on sharing stories of opportunity and challenges to encourage the Indigenous business sector during the pandemic.

The event was held virtually and acknowledged businesses that have found innovative ways to build and maintain their operations.

Co-founder of Indigenous Business Month Michelle Evans said this year's event attracted a record number of applicants representing a range of fields.

"Applicants were from across the country, representing diverse and varied fields, from technology, through to education and sharing of cultural knowledge, business and law," Evans said.

Brisbane-based procurement business Supply Aus took out the Indigenous 2 Indigenous Award, which celebrates the commitment by Indigenous businesses to grow through trading and working together.

Supply Aus works to deliver urgent supplies and services and has ensured the safety of mob on the front lines of the pandemic, incorporating Indigenous business opportunities throughout their supply chain.

In the last 12 months, the business has supplied more than $1.2 million to Indigenous businesses including PPE to Aboriginal Medical Services and face masks from Biripi Land Council.

"It's always good to get rewarded for the team's hard work ... collectively as a group, we were all pretty excited when we were told [we won]," said Wiradjuri man and Supply Aus CEO, Adam Williams.

"I think it's also well deserved because we've gone out this year and done all this without the help of Supply Nation and government departments."

Deaf Aboriginal Services was awarded the Ingenuity Award for their work in providing information and stories in Auslan format for Aboriginal children with hearing impairments.

This award celebrates a business working hard to solve challenges in partnerships with Indigenous communities.

"Hearing stories from the Deaf Aboriginal Community in Australia, we ... often felt left out because there were no resources available in Auslan via digital resources," said Narungga woman and founder of Deaf Aboriginal Services, Joanna Agius.

"I didn't want the same thing for the younger generations growing up to feel the exclusion, so that is why I have started work on the projects like Shark Dreaming (Narungga Kurata) ... which is fully translated with Auslan, voice, caption and visual vernacular.

"When you get recognised even this early with my business just starting, all the hard work and sacrificing time with family and friends makes it worthwhile."

Melbourne-based IT service Towcha Technology won the Indigenous Digital Inventiveness Award.

Towcha Technology works with clients as big as Coles but are most proud of their work with remote communities.

"We've worked with the AMRRIC (Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities) on a project to develop an app to help with on the ground disease identification and treatment of animals," said Gubbi Gubbi man and founder of Towcha Technology, Alan Holmes.

"It's fantastic to be acknowledged."

GWS Engineering and Construction was awarded the PwC MURRA Boost Initiative, which is sponsored by PwC Australia and the Melbourne Business School valued at $30,000 to help strengthen business practices and build capacity for future growth.

By Grace Crivellaro

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