PwC co-launches accelerator for indigenous business owners

11 October 2019 Consultancy.com.au

A consortium of founding partners and a cohort of supporting firms have teamed up to launch Meereeng 50, an accelerator for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses in Victoria. The founding partners are PwC Indigenous Consulting, Kinaway Chamber of Commerce Victoria and the University of Melbourne.

With growth of indigenous businesses in mind, the new programme will facilitate collaboration between leaders of aboriginal businesses, representatives from major businesses in Australia, lenders, academics and the government, all to develop an accelerator.

The Meereeng 50 programme is set to last 15 months, working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses. The various actors involved in the programme will offer a variety of mentoring and coaching, while the prolongued interactions with business leaders in Australia is likely to throw up lucrative networking opportunities.

The name of the programme – Meereeng – means ‘land’ in the Gunditjmara language, native to indigenous Australians from southwestern Victoria. According to organisers of the programme, the name signifies the space that has been created for a collaborative and nurturing environment.

PwC co-launches accelerator for indigenous business owners

This is the latest in a number of initatives that PwC Indigenous Consulting has been engaged with in Australia recently. In March this year, the Big Four accounting and advisory firm’s Indigenous vertical devised an Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan, designed as a platform for businesses across the country to advance national reconciliation efforts.

The Indigenous vertical has also recently been brought on board by the government to develop a Kakadu Tourism Master Plan, with the objective of boosting traffic to the Kakadu National Park. Meereeng 50 is the latest effort, and is set to drive significant economic integration.

“Although the demand for products and services supplied by First Australians has been steadily growing, many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses still face significant barriers to growth, with particular challenges to navigate the complex procurement systems,” commented Luke Sayers, CEO of PwC Australia.

Co-CEO of PwC Indigenous Consulting Jodie Sizer shed some light on how the concept of Meereen 50 first came about: “Meereeng 50 was born from many conversations across the Melbourne business community. Corporates are saying they want to diversify their supply chains and increase the share of procurement spend sourced from indigenous businesses. However, for many Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business owners, converting this interest into a commercial relationship is proving difficult.”


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