Posted: 03 Jun. 2016 5 min. read

Indigenous-operated businesses

Achieving economic independence

Targeted procurement programs are one of many initiatives supporting the growth of Indigenous-operated businesses. 

These programs place Indigenous-operated businesses at the centre of community and economic independence.

When it comes to improving the social, economic and cultural wellbeing of Indigenous Australians, the role of business – particularly Indigenous-operated business – has never been more important.

In a report exploring the economic benefits of addressing Indigenous disadvantage, Deloitte Access Economics ( found that addressing Indigenous disadvantage would lead to substantial economic growth for all Australians. The report called for holistic engagement in addressing Indigenous disadvantage in the labour market, and sought the continued leadership of the business world to achieve this.

The most recent Closing the Gap Prime Minister’s Report shows a number of improvements have been made in health and educational indicators, including being on track to halve the gap in Year 12 attainment by 2020. However, there has been little progress in reducing the gap in employment between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Nevertheless, there are positive signs that targeted procurement programs are supporting the growth of Indigenous-operated businesses, including:

  • Supply Nation ( facilitates the integration of Indigenous-operated businesses into the supply chains of large public and private sector organisations, of which Deloitte is a member.

These programs provide opportunities for Indigenous-operated businesses to grow sustainably. This drives the creation of local employment opportunities which, with targeted training and support, will create an increase in the number of skilled workers. This initiative has the potential to deliver greater economic independence for Indigenous Australians and a boost to the national economy more broadly.

Importantly, Indigenous-operated businesses are in the best position to work with government and industry to co-design policies and services to ensure that the needs, wants, and desires of their communities are heard and supported.

Deloitte’s Social Impact Consulting Practice ( has been working closely with Indigenous organisations in areas of self-determination and economic independence by weaving strategic thinking, leadership, funding innovation and robust governance frameworks into the fabric of organisations to set them up for continued and sustainable success.

We are passionate about Indigenous economic independence and we are looking to work with government, business and the NFP sector to co-design and deliver sustainable strategies that lead to empowerment and economic independence.

Deloitte celebrates National Reconciliation Week and has a strong vision for reconciliation. Read our Reconciliation Action Plan here.

Co-authored by Danny Sherman

More about the author

Tharani Jegatheeswaran

Tharani Jegatheeswaran

Partner, Social Impact Consulting

Tharani leads Deloitte Australia’s Social Impact Consulting Practice, a dedicated practice supporting social sector organisations, government agencies and businesses to deliver greater social impact aligned to their vision and mission. Drawing on over 15 years’ of consulting experience, combined with a deep passion for social change, Tharani has partnered with many organisations (including, disability, homelessness, and community services providers) on their transformation journeys. Her areas of experience include – strategy, growth, operating model design, operational excellence, and governance. She is passionate about bringing the latest trends in strategy, technology and innovation from adjacent industries and globally to support her clients to be ‘future fit’. Tharani is a Director of UNICEF Australia and the Deloitte Foundation, an Ambassador for Good Return, a judge for the Good Design Australia Awards and a passionate advocate for greater corporate and social sector collaboration.