Industry Capability Network WA (ICNWA) this week officially launched a partnership between the Indigenous Emerging Business Forum Aboriginal Corporation (IEBFAC) and the Aboriginal Business Directory WA (ABDWA).
The partnership will provide ICNWA staff with the cultural knowledge, learnings and endorsement for an authentic, culturally sensitive approach to indigenous business engagement, while ensuring the businesses on the directory are genuinely Aboriginally owned.
Over the longer term, the partnership aims to build Aboriginal business capability and growth.
CCIWA CEO Chris Rodwell said the Chamber was proud to play a role in bringing the partnership together.
“What we do today is launch something that is absolutely focused — it’s not just about economic empowerment, it’s about cultural empowerment that is absolutely fundamental,” Rodwell said.
“We have been looking after the ABDWA for a few years now — but I use the words ‘looking after’, because it’s not really the place it should be.
“I can see what value we can add, but it’s through this partnership that I hope that we transform it, that we take it to the next level, such that its custodianship does shift. That’s really important to us as an organisation.”
IEBFAC CEO John O’Driscoll said the partnership didn’t mean IEBFAC would be running the directory, but it would provide cultural guidance to better serve Aboriginal people.
“We do work in different worlds, but I think it’s time for us to walk together,” O’Driscoll said.
“Yes, we might be fairly new to the Whadjulla way — the way of doing business in the white world — but we do know how to do business.”
“There’s a lot of businesses out here that do Reconciliation Action Plans and seem to be doing the right things, but the real support is getting behind Aboriginal businesses. The real support is actually supporting Aboriginal businesses.
“None of this is possible if we don’t have people like yourselves supporting us. The directory is strong, yes, but it’s only as good as the businesses that represent it.”
ICNWA Manager Ray Loh said the organisation was honoured and privileged to have the IEBF accept the ABDWA as a partner.
“What the IEBF partnership brings to the ICN team is the cultural learnings, the cultural knowledge, and most importantly, as you heard earlier today, the cultural endorsement for us to engage with Aboriginal businesses in an authentic and culturally sensitive manner,” Loh said.
The event was well supported by industry who expressed strong encouragement for the partnership. It was also a celebration of women-led Aboriginal businesses with Kuppa Coffee providing the great coffee, and Bindi Bindi Dreaming offering morning tea with traditional flavours. The event was privileged to have Deborah Newenham who created the artwork for the ABDWA in attendance as well.