Indigenous-owned Businesses Level Up

The first students of the flagship program for Indigenous business owners have graduated with a supplier microcredential and a new network of mentors and peers.

The inaugural cohort of Australia’s first supplier microcredential for Indigenous-owned businesses celebrated their graduation last week with a pitch to a panel of government and industry professionals.

The Indigenous Supplier Development Program is a joint initiative of the University of Sydney Business School and the NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce designed to get businesses ready to tender for government contracts.

Associate Professor Danika Wright, Associate Dean (Indigenous Strategy & Services) at the Business School, said she was thrilled to hear from the first cohort of students about their purpose and impact within their communities.

“This program empowers business owners to take that next step in their growth. It brings together the very best of academic rigour from the University of Sydney Business School and pairs that with the cultural safety, networks and authenticity of the NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s all about sustainably growing the network of Indigenous suppliers to ultimately empower and grow the entire sector. We’re proud to partner with the NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce to design and deliver this program toward that end.”

The first cohort of the Indigenous Supplier Development Program, including (standing left) Associate Professor Danika Wright and (standing, second from right) 10Telco CEO Heath Smith.

Heath Smith, CEO of Dubbo-based telecommunications provider 10Telco, said he would recommend the program to any Indigenous business owner.

“The benefit of learning from my cohort, from the University and from the Chamber has been immeasurable. I believe it’s going to be the stepping stone to further my success.

“It’s left me in a better position for my own business and in my own learning progression.

The better you are, the better your people can be, the better your business can be – and then down the track you can train more people and get them to where they need to be.

Heath Smith, 10Telco

Deb Barwick, NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce CEO, said: “The Indigenous Supplier Development Program ideally demonstrates how procurement policy can be used strategically in major infrastructure projects to cultivate a robust, diverse and capable Indigenous supply chain. The program’s components are designed to equip our businesses with practical tools to effectively pitch for and respond to procurement opportunities, and their engagement with the market more broadly.”

The Indigenous Supplier Development Program is a three-month, part-time, fee-free executive education course for businesses within the NSW construction and infrastructure sectors, designed specifically to equip participants with the communication, strategic and leadership skills to take their business to the next level.

Participants enjoy the support of a professional network of peers and industry leaders, and earn a digital badge as proof of their microcredential upon completion of the course.

Applications are open now for the next cohort, which runs from 26 July to 18 October 2024. Learn more here.

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