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Brisbane to host Australia’s biggest Indigenous business event

David Prestipino -

More than 2,500 people will descend on Brisbane next year as the Olympic city hosts the country's most prominent event for the Indigenous business sector next year.

Supply Nation's Connect 2024 event is the largest annual gathering of First Nations businesses in Australia, with the two-day program attended by the nation's biggest corporations, government departments and international delegates who want to engage with Indigenous businesses and and exporters.

Supply Nation chief executive officer and proud Awabakal woman from Lake Macquarie, Kate Russell, said Connect 2024 would be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from August 28-29 and include the Connect Knowledge Forum, Indigenous Business Tradeshow and Gala Awards Dinner.

"We see enormous potential for Indigenous business growth in the Queensland economy over the coming years and bringing Connect 2024 to Brisbane will help accelerate that growth," 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.

Queensland Minister for Treaty and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Leeanne Enoch, said it was great the state would be home to the event, given it is home to more than a quarter of all First Nations business owner-managers in Australia.

"It's great to see this event coming to Brisbane next year," Ms Enoch said.

"Connect 2024 will be an opportunity for the many Queensland First Nations businesses to showcase what they do to the rest of Australia and the world."

Queensland employment and small business minister Di Farmer said that partnering with Indigenous-owned businesses unlocked economic opportunities to build stronger, more resilient businesses and communities.

"Our government recognises the importance of economic prosperity for Indigenous-owned businesses across Queensland and Connect 2024 will shine a light on that," she said.

Supply Nation has around 75 corporate and government members and more than 1,030 Indigenous suppliers based in Queensland.

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 represented 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.

Tickets for Connect 2024 will go on sale early next year.

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