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Aboriginal-owned Snap Underwood is using business to empower the local community

Aboriginal-owned Snap Underwood is using business to empower the local community

31 Oct 2016
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Karen Seage, a proud Noonuccal woman, is the owner of Snap Underwood and is using her business to empower her community.

The Noonuccal people are the traditional custodians of Quandamooka (Minjerribah, North Stradbroke Island).

Based in Underwood, Queensland, the company is a Supply Nation registered design and print business providing print and web design services. Its services also include graphic design and branding, mobile websites and smartphone apps, promotional material and corporate gifts.

Karen started in production at Snap 15 years ago and worked her way up to centre management. When she was offered the Snap franchise at Underwood four years ago, she was more than ready to take on the challenge and received support from Indigenous Business Australia to help her finance it.

It was then that she started to realise the impact she could have in the Indigenous community, being an Aboriginal business owner.

“It wasn’t until I bought the centre that I started having a lot to do with local Indigenous businesses that were trying to get off the ground and get started,” Karen said.

“And that’s when I first thought ’No, there’s more to this than just being a print shop. I can help other Indigenous businesses’. From having no indigenous businesses on our books we probably have over 100 now.”

She also channels her work into helping the community including doing design and printing work for the Elders on Stradbroke Island where she continues to volunteer, as well as supporting her local community in and around Logan.

“Being in Logan, there are a lot of Indigenous people that are unemployed. What I’m hoping will happen when we are big enough, when the turnover is big enough, is that we can start to employ Indigenous youth”, Karen said.

The business has benefitted from support from the Australian Government's Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP). Under the IPP In the 2015 -16 financial year, Snap Underwood  was awarded 4 contracts, valued in total around $96,000 by the Department of the Attorney General and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Snap Underwood received great feedback from these clients and Karen highlights how important government contracts are for Indigenous businesses and the whole community.

“Working with Australian Government is important to us because it gives us security. And we can expand our staff. Once our turnover is at a certain level we can employ more staff to work here. And that means I then get the opportunity to employ Indigenous youths from Logan. Logan is my main goal; that is, I can help people in this area, succeed,” Karen said.

Watch our video here, or see it on YouTube.

Male Voiceover
There are more opportunities now for Indigenous-owned businesses to thrive than ever, with government initiatives designed to support them to get started, and to grow. Karen Seage used a loan from Indigenous Business Australia to kick-start her Snap printing franchise in Logan, Queensland. And as a 50% or higher Indigenous-owned business, Karen could take advantage of the Indigenous Procurement Policy – which is about increasing the number of government contracts awarded to Indigenous businesses. Karen is a Noonuccal woman from Quandamooka. She has worked at Snap for 15 years, becoming the franchise owner four years ago.

Karen Seage – Owner, Snap Underwood
We do print, design and websites. We were always print before but we’ve sort of ventured into online sales now. We print anything from business cards, brochures, posters, large format, we go into CDs, all sorts of things - promotional products. I did start at production, right down the bottom and I worked my way up. This one came up for sale, they wanted me to manage it first, I did that for 12 months. Then they offered it to me and so with Indigenous Business Australia, they helped me finance it.

It wasn’t until I bought the centre that I started having a lot to do with local Indigenous businesses that were trying to get off the ground and get started. And that’s when I sort of thought ’no there’s more to this than just being a print shop. I can help other Indigenous businesses.  From having no Indigenous businesses on our books we probably have close to over 100.

So then I started doing things for Quandamooka, Stradbroke, for the Elders over there so I could help them with their printing and their design stuff. I now do a lot of volunteer work on the Island, which gives me a better feeling that we’re not just a print shop that we are actually helping people.

Being in Logan, there’s a lot of Indigenous that are unemployed. What I’m hoping will happen is that when we are big enough, when the turnover is big enough, that we can start employing those Indigenous youth.

Working with the Australian Government is important to us because it gives us security. We’ve got Australian Financial Security - they’re on board with us now. We did a large print run for them and they were very happy with that. We print for Indigenous Business Australia in Canberra. And also, the new one on board, is the Australian Taxation Office which was nice. We’re doing a lot of their Indigenous work as well. And it’s great because we’re getting really good feedback.

We deliver all our jobs locally. It’s great to get out into the community and catch up with our clients, meet them face to face, make sure they’ve got everything they want and they’re happy with the service.

Once our turnover’s at a certain level we can employ more staff to work here. And that means that I then get the opportunity to employ Indigenous youths from Logan. Logan is my main goal, is that I you know I can help people here, in this area, succeed.

Find out more

The Australian Government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy stimulates investment in new Indigenous businesses and helps existing Indigenous businesses to grow and employ more people.

For more information, visit the Snap Underwood website.

Supply Nation is funded by the Australian Government and connects Indigenous businesses with Corporate Australia and government departments.

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