Every October, we give honor to First Nations businesses all over Australia. Indigenous Business Month(IBA) is a month-long celebration initiated by the alumni of Melbourne Business School’s MURRA Indigenous Business Master Class Program in 2015. They consider business as a means towards self-determination, providing positive role models for First Nations Australians, and helping the quality of life of indigenous communities. Organizations and individuals are invited to hold celebrations, whether in-person or online. There are also awards given to notable Indigenous businesses. PwC also provides a winning business $30,000 in skills and expertise through the PwC MURRA Boost Initiative.
Image from IBA
Why Should We Support First Nations Businesses
The ingenuity of Indigenous Business owners is undeniable. They have significant contributions to our nation, especially with economy in innovation and education. Celebrating IBA means recognising the contributions of Indigenous businesses to our nation.
Promoting and/or supporting Indigenous Businesses, individuals and organisations, empower them and recognise their great significance in our nation. There are many ways to support First Nations Businesses. The most direct way is that you can purchase their products or services. However, there are non-monetary ways to help these businesses as well. This includes engaging with their socials such as liking pages and posts, posting a comment, and sharing their content. You have no idea how much these are appreciated!
How to Make Sure You Are Supporting a First Nations Business
You can easily find businesses claiming to be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. However, there is proper definition to being a First Nations Business. The National Indigenous Australians Agency defines an Indigenous Business as one that is 50% Indigenous owned. So how do you make sure that you are truly supporting one? Here are simple ways to do so.
Ask Who is Running the Indigenous Business
One way to verify if a brand is a First Nations Business is to ask the owners directly. At least half of the business owners should be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
Learn About the Business’ Story
In relation to asking about the ownership, it is equally important to know the back story of the Indigenous Business. Does the business promote and respect Indigenous culture? Do they have a mission to give back to the community? Do they share the same values as what Indigenous peoples fight for i.e. land ownership, Indigenous rights etc.
Look Up the Business in Supply Nation
The commonwealth urges First Nations Businesses to register their brand in Supply Nation, a business database of verified Indigenous Businesses. You can look up the Indigenous Business’ name, product, service, area, or category in their website.
DulcieDot is Proudly and Indigenous Business
We are proud to say that DulcieDot is an Aboriginal Business. I am a Goorie woman and descendant from the people of the Bundjalung nation of Northern NSW. I was raised on Gundungurra country.
DulcieDot was initially born out of a desire to teach my children about our ties to our Country, our culture, and the amazing women in our family. My grandmum Dulcie and her identical sister Dot, both Bundjalung women, were among the many First Nations children who were stolen and separated from their mother Janie (along with many other siblings). Their resilience and positivity have always been an inspiration to our family.
The story of Dulcie and Dot motivated me to collaborate with Aboriginal artists and communities all throughout Australia in order to learn more about the stories of our people. There are so many amazing unsung stories in our rich culture.
Celebrating indigenous business is not only encouraged in October. All year long, by promoting and/or patronising Indigenous businesses, we empower them and affirm their great significance in our nation.