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Helping Indigenous businesses thrive

In 2016, Australian Unity launched its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) which outlined three themes – respect, relationships and opportunities – that would guide our approach to reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.

One focus area of Australian Unity’s RAP was to better engage and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' business development and economic achievement.

Since the launch of our RAP, the Procurement RAP team have been gathering weekly to ensure the company is moving towards achieving its RAP procurement targets. The procurement team have been working towardsfour key targets;

  • Enablement – building Australian Unity’s connections with Indigenous businesses
  • Capability – actively support capability uplift within Indigenous businesses
  • Investment – increaseAustralian Unity’s direct and indirect spend with Indigenous businesses
  • Economic development – provide specific economic or social development benefits arising from Australian Unity’s investment with Indigenous businesses.
To support an uplift in capability, Australian Unity Procurement launched a series in 2017 called ‘Supplier Connect’. The Supplier Connect series brings together Indigenous business owners and Australian Unity subject matter experts. and is aimed at providing business owners with tangible advice they can use in their businesses. Initially the Supplier Connect series has focused on evening events combining sharing a meal with SME presentations followed by questions from attendees.

"Supplier Connect is an initiative of Australian Unity Procurement, who seek to build the knowledge and capabilities in Indigenous businesses to better enable them to compete for commercial supplier contracts, build their businesses and continue to have a positive impact on their communities," said Benson Saulo, Head of Community.

The last Supplier Connect dinner was held in Brisbane in June, with presentations from Natalie Ellisdon, GM of Retail Marketing and Group eCommerce, who presented on digital marketing, Darren Mann, Deputy Head of Finance and CFO, presented on finance and cash management for small businesses and Richard McLachlan presented on the Herston Quarter redevelopment and potential opportunities for businesses to participate in the project. This follows a dinner in Melbourne in November last year where Victorian based Indigenous businesses were invited to hear presentations from Australian Unity’s Risk and Customer & Digital teams.