Indigenous exporters part of Australia's economic recovery

Talking-up the Indigenous share of the Australian Economy

Governments at every level and across Australia are looking for ways to recover from the current economic crisis. They don’t have to look far for a solution.

There are over 12,000 Indigenous businesses in Australia, that contribute as much as $6 billion to the economy. While these numbers are growing, they are not growing fast enough.

Indigenous businesses can grow much more and make even more significant contribution to the Australian economy, including by engaging in international trade and expanding their markets overseas. They just need some extra capacity-building, supportive networks and a conducive trading environment.

Recognising this potential, the Export Council of Australia (ECA) and the Indigenous Network for Investment Trade and Export (IGNITE) have formed a strategic partnership.

Under a recently signed memorandum of understanding, both have committed to support Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses in their efforts to undertake international trade and attract investment.

ECA and IGNITE will work together to deliver export readiness courses, establish supportive ecosystems, provide ongoing mentoring and access to relevant up-to-date information to boost Indigenous businesses’ competitiveness and sustainability.

Also, with government partners, ECA and IGNITE will urge relevant international organisations to incorporate Indigenous issues in their agenda, so that Indigenous peoples everywhere can participate in and benefit from international trade.

There are opportunities, including from trade agreements, such as the Australia-UK FTA currently under negotiation. The UK is a huge market. For example, the e-commerce segment of ‘food & beverages’ alone is expected to reach a revenue of US$8.5 billion in 2020. Just a small slice of that would be more than satisfying for Indigenous Australian businesses.

Indigenous Australian businesses with the potential to make their mark on the global stage, include manufactured goods that feature Indigenous botanicals and active ingredients, design and fashion labels, international aid contractors into the region, as well as defence industry contractors.

Enterprises exposed to international markets tend to be more innovative and competitive. So, we applaud and encourage the success of Indigenous businesses here and overseas. The pay-off can be significant – new jobs created, skills upgraded, and incomes increased.


Darren Godwell, a/Executive Officer, Indigenous Network for Investment, Trade and Export Arnold Jorge, Executive Director, ECA Edge, Export Council of Australia