How corporate Australia can make an impact on the Indigenous economy

How Corporate Australia can further positively impact the Indigenous business ecosystem and Indigenous economy.

For all of the corporate organisations with a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), are you making a real and sustained impact when it comes to the Indigenous economy and to Indigenous procurement? Do your RAP commitments go beyond fiscal cycles and focus on outcomes, not just impact? Here are some tips from NGNY’s perspective as an Indigenous business, to progress your RAPs and a real impact, not just achieving outputs.

With the rise of Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) and the strategic importance of these to corporate and government entities in Australia, there’s a whole lot of activities that these entities are doing to meet their RAP Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). But what we need are real and sustainable efforts, investments and outcomes that drive impactful and positive change for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 


Firstly, because if the Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP) and RAPs were to no longer exist tomorrow then have we made a real go in driving positive outcomes for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities at a grassroots level and across remote, regional and urban communities? 

Secondly, the reality is that a lot of Australian corporates are deriving benefits and value from having a RAP, often in the form of money and financial opportunity. So are you all putting in as much as you are getting out of your RAP?  And is your organisation making real efforts and investments to effect change and not simply delivering tokenistic and tick box based outputs. As we often say, strive for outcomes not just outputs.

We recently attended a ‘Meet the buyer’ event hosted by Commonwealth Bank Australia (CBA). We were one of several Indigenous IT based businesses  at the gathering. This is the first of this type of event that we have attended that has been hosted by an Australian corporate. But not the first of its type overall, as we’d attended a similar event hosted by the Department of Defence in Canberra earlier this year. These types of events are important because they are a starting point to driving deeper relationships between Australian corporates and Indigenous businesses. But we must remember that they are a starting point in a journey that ideally would see more Indigenous owned businesses being awarded more contracts. For some Indigenous businesses, this is an opportunity to also learn where they can further develop their capacity and capability to deliver products and services that corporate Australia could procure on a regular, ongoing basis. 

Here are some recommendations on how Australian corporates could deliver more impactful outcomes for the Indigenous business ecosystem and economy:

  • Have a clear understanding of your outputs versus your outcomes
  • Create your outputs with having an outcome in mind, and then define and determine how you are going to measure this
  • Develop deeper relationships with Indigenous businesses that could supply to you, don’t just tell them that they’re not ready. CBA are a great example of an entity looking to establish deeper and growing relationships with Indigenous businesses
  • Look to engage Indigenous businesses on your business as usual contracts, not just your Indigenous based projects
  • Jointly promote your engagements and activities with Indigenous businesses so that both sides are able to benefit from the marketing and PR
  • Normalise the considered engagement of Indigenous owned businesses in all of your projects so that Indigenous owned businesses are being offered the opportunity to bid for business as usual contracts,
  • Better understand the values and objectives of the Indigenous businesses that you are interacting with so that alignment of values can be achieved, as this, more often than not, leads to more robust outputs and outcomes. Being able to invest in Indigenous businesses that are driving outputs and outcomes into the Indigenous community will amplify your impact as an Australian corporate.

For those of you that are discovering Ngakkan Nyaagu (NGNY) for the first time, we are an Indigenous Digital Agency. NGNY is a 100% Aboriginal owned business and has been operating for 5 years. We have been engaged to deliver website, mobile app, graphic design and hosting services for Indigenous organisations and businesses, non-Indigenous organisations, businesses, government and enterprise. We are Supply Nation Certified, NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (NSWICC) registered and B-Corporation Certified. We have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way and have a lot to share with Indigenous businesses and the buyers of their products and services. (