Melbourne Business School News Indigenous business Snapshot reveals significant value to Australian economy

Indigenous business Snapshot reveals significant value to Australian economy

The latest Indigenous business Snapshot shows Indigenous businesses contribute more than $16 billion to the Australian economy, employ 116,795 people and pay $4.2 billion in wages.

Snapshot 3.0 photo by Southern Cultural Immersion, 2024

Snapshot 3.0, the latest research report in our annual series tracking the Indigenous business sector and our most comprehensive to date, was launched today, tracking the impact of Indigenous entrepreneurial activity and highlighting the growing impact these businesses are having on the Australian economy.

Researchers from the Dilin Duwa Centre for Indigenous Business Leadership partnered with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and Indigenous data custodians to create the third Snapshot.

The Director of the Dilin Duwa Centre for Indigenous Business Leadership, Associate Professor Michelle Evans, said despite the large sample size of almost 14,000 businesses, many Indigenous enterprises have not been captured in the latest Snapshot, reiterating the enormous potential of the Indigenous business sector.

“On the current sample size, we have the best statistics so far, but it is only the next step in building the data,” says Associate Professor Evans.

“What this research shows us is that First Nations Australians are pursuing business as a vehicle for economic self-determination in encouraging numbers.

“The contribution of Indigenous businesses is not just the monetary amount – there is also the story of Indigenous self-determination through the vehicle of business, the local benefits of businesses especially in regional Australia such as employment and contribution to infrastructure, and the sharing of cultural knowledge which is crucial to the world’s oldest continuing culture.”

Key findings show that 13,693 Indigenous businesses and corporations generated:

The 2024 report, released today, has tracked the growth and footprint of 13,693 Indigenous trading businesses and corporations, providing the most comprehensive picture to date of the Indigenous business ecosystem.

Working with Indigenous data custodians, the research team mapped Indigenous businesses and corporations registered on Indigenous business registries against administrative data held by the ABS. For the first time, the team were able to access data through the ABS Personal Level Integrated Data Asset (PLIDA), tripling the sample size analysed in the report.

“PLIDA has been a game changer because it allows us to identify Indigenous sole traders and partnerships; businesses that normally would not choose to be registered in Indigenous business registries due to their size and the cost of registration,” said Associate Professor Evans.

“A large percentage of these businesses — 56 percent of sole traders and 78 percent of partnerships — are in rural and remote communities. This is important because it is evidence of Indigenous people using business to provide employment opportunities for themselves and their communities whilst remaining connected to Country.”

Additionally, for the first time this year, the report tracked the survival rates of businesses through the pandemic and the impact of COVID-19 policies.

To download the full Indigenous Business and Corporation Snapshot Study 3.0, click here.

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The Dilin Duwa Centre for Indigenous Business Leadership is committed to the pursuit of equity for Australia’s First Nations people in the economic life of our country.