FACT: Indigenous businesses are more likely to employ Indigenous people.
What we don’t entirely know (yet) is the data around Indigenous businesses collaborating with other Indigenous businesses. It’s true, First Nations businesses are more holistic, our strengths are focussing on community and the bigger picture, and for us at Iscariot we have always had the bigger picture in mind.
The last 24 months both have affirmed our holistic approach to business. We have increased both our collaborations and employment numbers and unsurprising to us regional operators are top of mind across Queensland & NSW. Finding opportunities to work with businesses from other regions has always been important to us.
If we’re delivering a project for regions then let’s use the expertise of that region.
By working with local people, we believe you are more likely to deliver a better product. Who knows the community better than those people who live and work there everyday? Rather than our team flying in and deciding what’s best (and the right questions to ask), locals know the language, the culture, the habits and the stories of their own places.
We did just that with the Open for Business Indigenous Business 2 Business Hotline. We were able to rely on the industry and regional expertise of our Indigenous hotline operators. With our training and systems in place we knew they would complement it with being able to relay and deliver relevant communications on the challenges that Covid raised for businesses specific to their location. We worked with 16 Indigenous businesses from across Queensland. They were based in Cairns, Whitsundays, Sunshine Coast, and Gold Coast With One Business we’re working with 10 Indigenous businesses from across Queensland, including Thursday Island, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Sunshine Coast, Logan, and Southern Downs.
Why FIFO when you can use local talent?
There are many talented freelancers based in regional communities across Queensland. Working with local freelancers located in the communities we are delivering to, means that we can limit the amount of resources spent on flying-in and flying-out. Income gets to remain in the community, driving local economies, and developing local expertise.
As we’ve grown our focus group offering, we’ve worked hard to identify local activators based within the regions we’re travelling to. This keeps the bulk of the income in the community, reduces emissions (no jet fuel!), and allows regionally-based freelancers to add to their own product offering.
One Business is another example of where we could have delivered a project completely in-house from here in South East Queensland. While I have no doubt we would have delivered an adequate product, working with regionally-based Indigenous business trainers has allowed us to play a role in developing Queensland’s Indigenous business sector. Sharing the opportunities with others is a strong part of Iscariot’s why.
Building relationships takes time building relationships
In a service-based business building relationships, even with your competitors is vital. Relationships mean that you can support others in their businesses, as well as call on others when you need help. One of our goals is to build relationships with businesses (including freelancers) who we can signal boost, get support from, and offer support. Spreading our relationships across Queensland (and Australia) means we are all growing our opportunity to collaborate and grow together.
We’ve recently started a new QLD state-wide training project (still a secret squirrel) which came about because we had existing strong relationships with Indigenous businesses in a particular sector, based across Queensland. We would have never pursued the opportunity had we not had those relationships. The client knew, if Covid comes back to Queensland, we have the local connections we can draw on.
Even before Covid we knew the value of working within communities. But since April 2020, many other people have had their expectations of work and business turned upside down. One of the most exciting developments we believe will happen in the future is that many jobs that you had to previously move to the city for can increasingly be done from regional locations across Queensland. No more having to leave your family and community for that big career. By working with others across Queensland, our aim is to continue to play a role in growing our sector for all.
Join our growing list of regional suppliers: Are you a designer, artist, scribe (!!!), connector, or an organiser living across regional Queensland? We’re looking for local ambassadors, activators and even minute-takers to join the growing Iscariot team. Drop us a line with your CV or capability statement. We have opportunities for lots of different projects and knowing we have experts we can draw on, helps us decide if we should pursue a project or not.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org