Indigenous-owned office supply company aims for $20m turnover

Mitchell Ross (left) with Dominique Lyone.

A majority Indigenous-owned office supply company, which counts KPMG and Boral among its clients, is aiming for a turnover of $20 million by the year 2020, its chief executive officer Mitchell Ross said.

Mr Ross said Muru Office Supplies (MOS) tripled its turnover last financial year on the back of the two contracts — Boral which was signed in May and KPMG which was signed late last year — and has big plans for the future.

MOS supplies stationery and other office products to both of the major companies.

“We did $5 million in turnover last financial year because of the contracts with KPMG and Boral,” Mr Ross said.

“The previous financial year was $1.7 million so we’ve tripled our revenue in the last 12 months.”

Mr Ross said he was aiming to build on what the company had achieved.

“I’ve got a bit of an outrageous goal to have $20 million in revenue by 2020. Next year we want to continue growth and continue that trend and obviously work towards that,” he said.

MOS was formed three years ago as a joint venture between Mr Ross’s Muru Group, which owns 51 percent, and leading national office supplies company Complete Office Supplies, which has a 49 percent stake.

Mr Ross, who formerly worked in IT and began his move into office supplies with ink cartridges, said he approached COS about a joint venture when he found his customers were asking for a wider range of products.

He said COS, headed by chief executive officer Dominique Lyone, had been important to the company’s success and there was a good synergy between the joint venture partners.

“They’ve got national distribution and credibility in the industry so that removed some of the barriers I faced prior to the partnership, barriers some of my peers still face, with the misconception that Aboriginal business doesn’t have the capability to service them,” Mr Ross said.

He said both joint venture companies were also community-minded.

Fifteen percent of MOS profits are put into Aboriginal community projects. COS also gives 15 percent of its profits to charity.

“I think there are a lot of synergies between the two companies,” Mr Ross said.

“COS is a family-owned company and their founder Dominique Lyone emigrated to Australia when he was very young from Egypt. Dom was supported by Australian charities and he is a very strong believer in supporting Australian charities.”

Mr Lyone said he hoped MOS could carve out a big niche in the office supply market.

“I’m enjoying understanding more about the Indigenous sector and giving the next lot of people coming through a go at business,” Mr Lyone said.

“Part of my job is also to mentor Mitchell, the CEO. I’m enjoying that role and working with him and his team.”

MOS products run the gamut from post-it notes to office furniture. There is also a range of about 62 products featuring Indigenous artwork by Indigenous artist Marcus Lee Designs.

Wendy Caccetta

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