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PIC launches First Australians Procurement Accelerator Program

12 Sep 2019

Media Release - PwC’s Indigenous Consulting

PwC’s Indigenous Consulting (PIC) today announced it is joining with some of Australia’s largest companies to deliver a unique opportunity for Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business owners to accelerate the growth of their businesses.

The accelerator program, Meereeng 50, is a collaborative project led by Kinaway Chamber of Commerce Victoria Ltd (Kinaway), PIC and the University of Melbourne.

CEO of PwC Australia, Mr Luke Sayers said, “although the demand for products and services supplied by First Australians has been steadily growing, many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses still face significant barriers to growth, with particular challenges to navigate the complex procurement systems.

“Over a 15 month period, Meereeng 50 will ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses are supported with mentoring, coaching and networking opportunities that position them to take advantage of the very best market opportunities.”

The program brings together representatives from Aboriginal business, some of Australia’s largest companies, including Lendlease and National Australia Bank, academia, the sourcing and procurement profession and government to deliver an accelerator program for mature businesses aspiring to develop relationships with major companies.

As Co-CEO of PIC Jodie Sizer explains, “Meereeng 50 was born from many conversations across the Melbourne business community. Corporates are saying they want to diversify their supply chains and increase the percentage of their procurement spend sourced from Indigenous businesses. However, for many Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business owners, converting this interest into a commercial relationship is proving difficult.

“We’re co-designing a purpose-built program that will be a combination of formal learning and business coaching and support to help those businesses develop skills and systems that will allow them to be successfully embedded in key supply chains. We’ll also be working alongside some of our corporate clients to identify and source contracts for the Meereeng 50 participants and make the supplier processes less onerous,” Ms Sizer said.

Kinaway Chair, Karen Milward, sees Meereeng 50 as a significant step forward for Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses. “We’re committed to increasing Aboriginal businesses involvement in the Victorian economy and believe this fantastic new initiative will help achieve that,” she said.

“Many businesses have not had the opportunity to present their capabilities to major corporations, so identifying potential contract opportunities is a brilliant way to ensure participants will not only get the theory, they’ll also be able to apply what they learn in practical terms.”

According to Co-Deans of the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne, Professor Paul Kofman and Professor Ian Harper, Meereeng 50 supports the University’s ongoing pledge to advance capability in the Indigenous business sector.

“We’re committed to supporting Indigenous business leadership through quality education, and this accelerator will propel mature businesses to the next level,” Professor Kofman said.

“Meereeng 50 is unique in that it provides corporates with unique insight into how they can best collaborate with Indigenous business. It’s this focus on expanding and nurturing the value in the buyer-supplier relationship that will ensure continued growth of the sector,” Professor Harper said.

The pilot program is a key initiative of PIC and PwC’s joint Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan. It will initially include up to 12 Victorian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander businesses, with the intention to roll out the developed program nationally.

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