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8 Meaningful Ways to Support Aboriginal Businesses This Indigenous Business Month


A yellow banner featuring the words 8 Meaningful ways to support blak businesses this month
8 Meaningful Ways to Support Blak Businesses This Indigenous Business Month

If you are often left wondering how you can do more for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses, this guide will be a helpful read for you.


As we near the end of Indigenous Business Month, it is imperative to remember that to create equity in our society that the below list of actions should be implemented all year round, not just during Indigenous Business Month.


I don't want to be left thinking that it is we as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses doing ALL. OF. THE. WORK. It shouldn't be just us creating lists of Indigenous businesses to support, or creating social media posts for you to simply share. Coming off of one of the most devastating and impactful weeks following the disappointing outcome of The Voice Referendum, it is more important than ever that allies stand up and ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, services and businesses are elevated across the board.


"It is more important than ever that allies stand up and ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, services and businesses are elevated across the board."


As a small business owner myself, I wanted to create a list of tangible actions you can take that will provide a minimum of 8 meaningful ways that you can support blak businesses, all year round.



1. AMPLIFY BLAK BUSINESSES + CREATORS

Use your platform to amplify the voices, products and services of Blak businesses. By sharing our businesses with your customer base you are assisting to increase our reach which can have real economic benefit.


What can you do?

Do you release a regular e-newsletter? Save some space to share an Indigenous business with your customers.


 

2. RUN A PLATFORM? SHARE IT.

Do you host a podcast? Perhaps you are a editor of a magazine? Or run a popular Facebook/Instagram page that shares businesses and good news stories?


Invite an Indigenous business owner on to share their business story. Too often on these type of platforms i see post after post after post of non-Indigenous businesses. Consider diversity when creating your content schedules.


What can you do?

Once a month, ensure at least one of your posts, articles, stories feature an Indigenous business.


 

3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Customers want to know about your values. As a First Nation’s shopper myself, i feel welcomed on a website that i can see has taken the time to create and implement an Acknowledgement of Country.


What can you do?

Consult (and pay!) a local Elder or First Nation’s person to assist you to create an Acknowledgement of Country for your own e-commerce site.


 

4. SPEND WITH US

There are a beautiful abundance of First Nation’s businesses across a multitude of categories. We have a diverse range of skills and knowledge that deserve to be recognised and respected for what it is. From interior styling to home decor, from professional consulting to real estate, from cosmetics to vehicle detailing, from native foods to event management- we are successful business owners across many, many fields.


What can you do?

Next time you plan to make a purchase, actively research for an Indigenous business that can meet your needs. The money you spend with us goes directly to us and filters through to our families and community. Resources such as Supply Nation are able to provide a directory of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses across many categories.


Don't know how to find Aboriginal businesses? Use social media hashtags as a simple shortcut to provide you with a comprehensive catalogue. Some great hashtags include #blakbiz #buyblak #Aboriginalbusiness #Indigenousbusiness #blakowned


 

5. COLLABORATE & NETWORK

Encourage collaboration between Aboriginal businesses and mainstream businesses. This could involve creating respectful and mutually beneficial partnerships, joint ventures, or collaborative projects.

Networking events and platforms that connect businesses from different communities can foster mutual understanding and economic growth. Ensuring your business groups, mentoring networks and advisory boards have First Nations' representation will also aid in increasing use by First Nations community and membership.


What can you do?

Attending or hosting a networking event? Create a list of local Indigenous businesses to invite to attend. Encourage attendance and provide space and opportunity for Aboriginal businesses to connect.


 

6. ENGAGE BY USING FAIR TRADE PRACTISES.

Ensure that your interactions with Aboriginal businesses are based on fair and equitable principles. This includes paying fair prices for products or services, respecting cultural protocols, and being aware of the potential for exploitation. Support initiatives that promote fair trade and ethical business practices. There are platforms available to assist with this such as Supply Nation, Indigenous Art Code, Indigenous Business Australia to name a few.


What can you do?

Create a policy that will outline the ethical practices you will undertake when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and individuals.


 

7. EDUCATE YOURSELF

Remember that being a supportive ally involves ongoing commitment and respect. It's crucial to listen to the needs and perspectives of Aboriginal communities and adapt your actions accordingly. Additionally, recognise that each community is unique, so the best ways to support may vary. Always approach your efforts with humility and a willingness to learn.


This knowledge will help you make informed choices when selecting products or services to support.


 

8. BUSINESS BLACK-FACE IS A THING.

Ever been on a website or made a purchase, thinking you were buying from an Indigenous business due to the expertly-placed use of Aboriginal artwork, use of native ingredients or Indigenous language or simply blatantly deceptive practises, only to find out that you had been duped?


Many businesses benefit highly from the sneaky use of Indigenous art and cultural aspects on or in their products whilst not being Indigenous-owned themselves. Sure, a number of them may have reciprocal and respectful relationships with their creators and/or their local Indigenous communities, but still sadly, many do not. Whilst many may pay royalties or licensing fees to Aboriginal creators (yay!) at times these are not comparable to the profits being acquired by themselves.


What can you do?

As consumers, look past the beautiful artwork placement and instead look for tangible evidence that the business is Indigenous owned or fairly supports their creators and/or Indigenous communities that they directly benefit off of.


Do they identify their business as Indigenous-owned (or similar terminology)?

Are they upfront about not being Indigenous owned, but outlay where the profits go to in Indigenous communities? If not, a lot of the time they are trying to trick you into thinking they are. That is business black-face. Look for certifications or labels that indicate the authenticity of the Indigenous ownership. If in doubt- Ask the question. And do your own research.



Did you find this article helpful? Reach out on Instagram and Facebook to let me know!

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