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CONNECTING INDIGENOUS BUSINESSES IN BUNBURY

After delivering successful online pop-up hubs during the pandemic, the Waalitj Foundation are back to offering support and providing opportunities for Indigenous businesses to connect in person thanks to a partnership with the Alcoa Foundation.

Hosted at the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre on 17th and 18th May, the Bunbury pop-up enabled Indigenous business owners and entrepreneurs to join with industry leaders, to discuss collaborative opportunities.

About 15 Indigenous businesspeople attended the event representing varied skills and capabilities including mechanical maintenance, electrical services, recruitment resources and hospitality.

Guests heard from Waalitj Hub Business Coaches about the support the organisation can offer existing and emerging businesses and then from representatives from Alcoa, Intertek and Programmed about the organisations’ commitment to working with Indigenous businesses, upcoming opportunities and how to navigate their tendering process.

Waalitj Hub General Manager Shane Devitt said it was inspiring to see so many successful business owners connecting in the room and he is excited to be able to deliver the pop ups in person again.

“Being able to deliver the pop-ups in person allows us to service our clients while connecting them with companies like Alcoa giving them the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations,” he said.

“Networking at events like these allows the wider business community to gain awareness and benefit from the breadth of strong, emerging Indigenous businesses in WA.”

The event was made possible with the support of Alcoa’s global charity, the Alcoa Foundation, which provides funding to the Waalitj Hub to deliver nine business pop-ups in areas where the resources company operates across the Upper South West, Peel and Kwinana areas. Seven have been delivered to date attracting over 100 people, resulting in several First Nations businesses winning contracts.

Alcoa Global Procurement Director Adrian Jones presented to the businesses in attendance and outlined the opportunities for Indigenous businesses, including the requirements to do business with Alcoa. The opportunities include direct contracts as well as sub-contracting opportunities to support Alcoa’s bauxite mines and alumina refining operations in WA’s South-West.

“We are committed to increasing economic participation for Indigenous Australians through both business and employment opportunities. The Waalitj Hubs have been valuable for Alcoa to connect directly with Indigenous businesses and engage with them on opportunities” he said.
Since its inauguration in 2020, the Waalitj Hub has serviced over 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait clients. While the Hub is based in Perth, the partnership with the Alcoa Foundation ensures important services can be taken to regional areas south of Perth.

As well as partnering to deliver the pop-up business hubs, Alcoa Foundation is also proudly supporting the Waalitj Foundation’s pre-employment program across Kwinana, Peel and the upper South-West regions. This program focuses on improving the employability of Indigenous job seekers through developing skills and work readiness.

To find out more or to register for the upcoming pop-ups visit our events page.

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