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Record spend on Indigenous businesses

Zak Kirkup -

In a landmark achievement for Indigenous entrepreneurship in Australia, spending with Supply Nation verified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses surpassed $4 billion over the past financial year.

Between July 2022 and June 2023, Supply Nation-certified and registered businesses were awarded an impressive $4.1 billion in contracts or services.

This represents a substantial increase of $300 million from the preceding financial year, highlighting a growing commitment among Australian corporations and government entities towards Indigenous economic empowerment.

Supply Nation's Chief Executive Officer and proud Awabakal woman from Lake Macquarie, Kate Russell, underscored the importance of this increased spending.

"Supply Nation's Social Return on Investment analysis indicates that this increased spend would have generated an additional $1.32 billion of social and economic value to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities," Ms Russell said.

"The result of October 14 (referendum on constitutional recognition) was heartbreaking, but I see this as a reassuring commitment that the Australian business community is committed to economic self-determination for Indigenous peoples."

Ms Russell acknowledged the vibrant growth of both the Indigenous business sector and Supply Nation itself. She reflected on the organization's journey from its inception in 2009, when it facilitated $300,000 in contracts with just 12 Indigenous businesses, to its current achievement.

"This result is a credit to the growing number of Indigenous suppliers who are energetically seeking new

opportunities from the corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors," she said.

Supply Nation, established in 2009, has been at the forefront of Indigenous supplier diversity in Australia. Since its inception, it has played a pivotal role in shaping the Indigenous business sector to help verify and promote Indigenous-owned businesses of all sizes.

The organisation collaborates with its paid members from government, corporate, and non-profit sectors to develop procurement policies that prioritize Indigenous businesses, which have traditionally been underrepresented in these areas.

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