Celebrating NAIDOC week with new initiatives for Indigenous women in business

13th July 2018

Media release

  • Launch of a new digital mentoring platform focused on helping Indigenous women in regional and remote areas get into business.
  • New partnership between Indigenous Business Australia and
    Lendlease to get more Indigenous businesses into Lendlease’s supply

A new digital platform to help more Indigenous women get into
business and a new public-private partnership with Lendlease to support
more Indigenous businesses win contracts with Lendlease have been
launched today by the Turnbull Government during NAIDOC Week

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, announced these new
initiatives at a breakfast panel of Indigenous businesswomen in Sydney,
hosted by Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), as part of NAIDOC week’s
theme of “Because of Her, We Can”.

“It was fantastic to listen to the panel discussion with Marcia
Edwards, Alison Page, Dionne Connolly and Alana Kennedy today about the
challenges and pathways for success for Indigenous women in business,”
Minister Scullion said.

At this event, the Minister launched a new digital mentoring platform
to support Indigenous women in business. Utilising extensive video
content featuring leading Indigenous business women, the mentoring
platform will offer Indigenous women from the most remote parts of
Australia to regional and urban areas a range of business modules, as
well as the opportunity to connect with one another and harness each
other’s experiences and wisdom.

“This platform is a first of its kind in Australia for Indigenous
businesswomen who are looking to build their networks and share their
experiences and is part of our commitment to supporting Indigenous women
into business.

This initiative follows the recent ‘Strong Women Strong Business’
conference in Adelaide, which brought together more than 200 Indigenous
women for the first time and was about building networks and ensuring
Indigenous women are well placed to take advantage of the opportunities
the Government is creating for the Indigenous business sector.

“The Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP) has supercharged the
Indigenous business sector, driving growth in the demand for the goods
and services of Indigenous businesses.

“Prior to the IPP, Indigenous businesses were all but locked out of
Commonwealth contracts – with only 30 Indigenous businesses winning just
$6.2 million in 2012-13. Since the IPP was introduced in July 2015,
over 1000 Indigenous businesses have won over $1.084 billion in
contracts, creating new opportunities for Indigenous businessmen and
women across the country.

IBA Chair, Mr Eddie Fry, a Dagoman-Wardaman man from the Katherine
region said IBA was meeting the demand for Indigenous businesses created
by the Commonwealth, with record investments in the sector.

“Over the past 12 months, IBA has deployed a record amount of capital
across its areas of work, close to $400 million. This includes
approximately $50 million in business finance to Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Australians who are starting or growing small
businesses, including over 350 instances of business finance,” Mr Fry

“We have invested over $13.5 million in Indigenous start-ups and
entrepreneurs, through 62 start-up packages and supporting 30
participants in accelerator programs, many of whom are women.

Minister Scullion also launched a new partnership between IBA and
Lendlease to support more Indigenous businesses into Lendlease’s supply

“Lendlease already has an impressive commitment to Indigenous
procurement through their Gymea Indigenous Supplier Diversity Program
and this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will mean that IBA will
support Indigenous businesses looking to win work in Lendlease’s very
substantial supply chain and connect them directly with Lendlease.

“This is great example of the IPP in action. Under the IPP, the
Commonwealth requires major contractors for government works to procure
from Indigenous businesses and employ Indigenous Australians.

“In the last two years, there 56 companies that are now required to
meet a minimum target for Indigenous employment or supplier use and
ensure Indigenous Australians gain skills and economic benefit from some
of the larger pieces of work the Government outsources, including


The four women who spoke at the panel were:

  • Marcia Edwards, Director of the Cryogenics Group.
  • Alison Page, Film and TV Producer, Zacpage.
  • Dionne Connolly, Director, Western Labour Hire.
  • Alana Kennedy, Founder, Ochre Bloke.