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A First Australians Procurement Accelerator Program launched
PwC’s Indigenous Consulting (PIC) has launched 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. They are working together with some of Australia’s largest companies, including Lendlease, National Australia Bank and Telstra, as well as Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) and the Victorian State Government, through its Aboriginal Business strategy (“Tharamba Bugheen”), to deliver an accelerator program for mature businesses aspiring to develop relationships with major companies.
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.
As Co-CEO of PIC Jodie Sizer said, “Our mob are true entrepreneurs. We just need to help them get access to those opportunities.”
Kinaway General Manager, Paul Kruspe, sees Meereeng 50 as a significant step forward for Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.
“Our collaborators being part of this program is a really key thing”, said Mr Kruspe.
“We know that one of the barriers to Aboriginal businesses getting contract opportunities is a lack of confidence to connect with key decision makers. By bringing suppliers and corporates together, Meereeng 50 will help to break down this initial hurdle.”
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.
“At a time when demand for Indigenous services is growing very fast, suppliers and buyers will be provided with a unique opportunity to learn from each other and grow their businesses in parallel,” Professor Kofman said.
“Meereeng 50 is unique in that it provides corporates with 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 10 Victorian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander businesses, with the intention to roll out the developed program nationally.
Both the State Government of Victoria, through the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions and IBA are providing funding to assist in the delivery of Meereeng 50.
Image: James Henry
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