Indigenous outfits sell on world market

The Australian -

14 August 2012


INDIGENOUS people running businesses can apply for capital loans to pursue bold ideas under a plan to increase Aboriginal people's wealth and help them expand into international markets.

Indigenous Business Australia andAIMSC have formed a partnership to help Aboriginal businesses seize the opportunities for growth created by the increasing number of corporate and government buyers wanting their goods and services.

IBA has created a new Fast Track Loan with AIMSC that provides a fast turnaround assessment for growing, sustainable indigenous businesses to
provide finance.

It enables indigenous businesses that are struggling to get capital to compete for and complete larger corporate and government contracts. Other business growth needs can include loans to fund assets, additional stock and other business requirements to fulfil larger contracts.

IBA chief executive Chris Fry said under the new scheme businesses will be able to exploit international opportunities.

"We look at that and promise a one-week turnaround. We offer the initial working capital to help scope the opportunity to make the opportunity a reality in the first instance," he said.

Mr Fry said the new scheme was being developed under the financial parameters IBA is under, but if it proved successful, they would push for more money to grow indigenous businesses.

We have identified that there are markets offshore and we should now be looking beyond just local domestic markets and that indigenous businesses can compete on those international markets."

Australian Outback Apparel is an indigenous husband and wife team, Stay and Jasmin Herro, who came to IBA after completing the Into Business Workshops, to refine their ideas into one business proposal. Business support involves working with an IBA funded mentor to develop a business plan and they will be offered ongoing support as required.

They formed the business with colleague Michael Cima.

The company supplies highquality work wear, corporate uniforms and branded merchandise and gifts. Their key target markets are mining, corporate and government departments.

Through this relationship with AIMSC, Outback Apparel has been successful in securing a contract with a major corporate to supply 2200 platform wheeled duffle bags within the mining industry. IBA was able to provide this new Fast Track Loan to provide working capital to Outback Apparel based on its growth projections. Last month, Outback Apparel opened an office in Shanghai and is setting up an office in Phoenix, Arizona, under
the name Outback Global.

Mr Herro said cash flow was a problem, and they didn't have the funds to go forward with large orders. "This has opened up a world full of opportunities and possibilities for us, whereas before while we had the expertise and the contacts to do it we never had the funds or the cash flow to do it."

He said it was financial support he could not get from a mainstream bank.

AIMSC chief executive Natalie Walker said domestic and global buyers wanted goods and services supplied by indigenous business. "Indigenous businesses who seize these opportunities like Outback Apparel, will grow because of this demand, and this prosperity will take indigenous Australia beyond the gap."