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‘Providing opportunities for our mob’

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Woman on left in white shirt and black jacket, tall man on righ with black polo shirt.
Indigenous businesses connecting with government buyers at Supply Nation
22 Sep 2017

Providing opportunities for young people and being a role model in the community has given people like Michael O’Loughlin and Dale Chapman a sense of pride and achievement.

Former Sydney Swans great, Michael O’Louglin knows what it’s like to lead people into brighter futures. A Narangga Ngarrindjeri man from Adelaide, Michael is now Managing Director of CMC Indigenous Services, a cleaning and property maintenance company. Michael is using skills gained as Head Coach of the AIS-AFL Academy, the Indigenous All-Stars team and the Sydney Swans Academy to give back to the Australian economy.

‘Providing opportunties for our mob is what I’m about and what our business is about. To be the first business owner in my family is something that I’m really proud of. Becoming a role model for your children and your cousins is an amazing thing to be able to say and do that. It’s a sense of pride, the Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP) helps to open doors to be able to build relationships and turn them into business.’

Well versed in winning awards throughout his career, most notably being inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame in 2015, this year Michael’s business has won Supply Nation’s Certified Supplier of the Year 2017.

Michael’s advice for other Indigenous businesses, ‘Make sure you get in touch with Supply Nation they’ve always been there with a helping hand and will show you the roadmap to success, I’m glad I did it. Don’t be shame be game.’

The Indigenous business sector is thriving, recording outstanding growth at about 12.5% per annum and generating well over a billion dollars in revenue, according to Laura Berry, CEO of Supply Nation.

Supply Nation was established in 2009 to connect Australia's leading brands and government with Indigenous businesses across the country.

Just like CMC Indigenous Services, Dale Chapman, Director of First Food Co, thinks it’s imperative that other Indigenous businesses connect with Supply Nation. ‘It doesn’t matter what level you are at in business you need to come along and start wetting your toe, getting yourself known out there.’

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has funded Supply Nation to host a series of Indigenious Trade Fairs around the country. The next event will be held in Darwin on the 24 October 2017.

Two women stand behind a table with containers of bush food and behind them a large poster which says, First Food Co. and Bush Food Specialists. The woman on the left and dressed in a white top. The woman on the right has a black and white striped top.
Karen Perks & Dale Chapman, Directors, First Food Co

‘We develop a whole range of bush food products across Australia and specialise in catering, a sacred harvest retail line, and a food service line. We work closely with Aboriginal peoples and communities and ethical farmers across the nation to develop the supply chain.’

Based in Gubbi Gubbi country on the Sunshine Coast, Dale knows attending events like the Supply Nation trade show is about connecting.

‘Today is about contact and networking with other industries that are after our service. We are now able to work with more industries across the sector than what we’ve had before.’

The Canberra Indigenous Trade Fair connected 88 Indigenous businesses with over 300 buyers from Commonwealth agencies and the private sector.  The Fair concluded with a workshop designed to build capability to respond to government tenders and discover new business opportunities through government procurement.

Find out more

If you are an Indigenous business wanting to participate in the IPP, visit Supply Nation. For more information about the policy, visit the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.