It is impossible to ignore the discourse around Black Lives Matter. It’s become one of the most important cultural shifts in near memory.
While the movement was originally founded in 2013 in the United States, it’s also an important one here in Australia, where Black Lives Matter and Indigenous Lives Matter have placed a spotlight on Aboriginal deaths in custody and racial intolerance.
We created this editorial in 2019 when a reader reached out to us to ask whether we had a listing of local Indigenous businesses she could support. She wanted to show solidarity and support beyond social media.
While we had featured Indigenous businesses on our website and in our magazine pages, we didn’t have anything specifically consolidated that we could recommend.
So, here is a list of Indigenous businesses which do a range of remarkable things right here in Canberra—from furniture design to homewares, to ICT supply, to ethical Indigenous art and “on country” designs for school uniforms. We update it regularly.
A number of these are also featured on Supply Nation, a national Indigenous business register which you can view here. We are also keen to hear from you if you run or recommend an Indigenous business—please drop us a line at email@example.com if you see any missing from this list.
So, if you want to support Indigenous Australians with an entrepreneurial streak, or ensure your dollars help maintain Indigenous jobs, or even if you just want to learn more about Indigenous creatives or corporations which are operating locally, you can use this as a launchpad.
18fifty3 Group is a 100% Indigenous and veteran-owned integrated service provider bringing a cultural perspective to projects and services it delivers to the public and private sector.
Services include environmental land management, affordable housing, renewable energy and aviation.
Aboriginal Dreamings Gallery
Aboriginal Dreamings Gallery has celebrated 31 years of bringing quality, ethically-sourced Aboriginal art to Canberra and has galleries in Civic and at Gold Creek.
The art has been selected from numerous Indigenous Communities and Art Centres, and includes works by important artists, together with paintings and crafts by many emerging and collectable artists. Changing exhibitions are presented in the Gallery every couple of weeks.
Created by a local mother-daughter duo, Antique Duchess’s statement earrings are beautiful testaments to the duo’s Butchulla and Gubbi Gubbi heritage and are created using only materials sourced from other Indigenous-owned companies.
Black Magic Coffee
A family-run coffee-van specialising in providing fabulous espresso coffees, hot chocolates and specialty teas at a range of events in and beyond Canberra.
They love attending festivals, sporting events, and are happy to provide fair trade and organic products.
Booka Consulting offers a huge range of management consulting and contracting services to the federal government from its Civic headquarters.
Offering project management, change management, risk management, technical writing and documentation and much more, Bokhara Projects was founded by ex-Australian Defence Force members to provide specialist advice and skills for the defence industry and beyond.
Burunju Art Gallery
Burrunju Aboriginal Corporation was established in Conder to provide local Indigenous people an opportunity to realise their dream of self-determination through the creation and sale of their artworks and music.
Buru Ngunawal Aboriginal Corporation
Established as a not for profit organisation to meet the changes in legislation at all levels of Government that requires Aboriginal people to be consulted about their Culture, Buru Ngunawal Aboriginal Corporation imparts knowledge about Aboriginal culture and practices to build a better community awareness.
Including Welcome to Country Ceremonies and interpretive walks and talks in all nature parks to highlight how native vegetation was used for the provision of food and medicine, contact them for more information.
Canberra Furnished Accommodation
Canberra Furnished Accommodation began in 2003 when Matt and Laurie McDonald rented their investment property on a short-term furnished basis. Today, Canberra Furnished Accommodation is an award winning business with more than 50 properties available in Canberra for people needing furnished and equipped accommodation on a flexible or short term basis.
The home of culturally appropriate workplace relations, Capital Workplace offers investigative HR services, mediation and training as well as assistance with governance and internal HR policies.
Supplying wholesale to the cleaning and hospitality industries, Chemworks offers a wide range of items—some of which are especially important during COVID, such as soap and sanitiser dispensers.
Corroborree Security Services
Corroborree Security Services provides security and personal safety services including surveillance services, security and CCTV systems and maintenance.
Curijo is a professional services company specialising in financial services such as audit and assurance, consultancy for strategic and business management and operational research, as well as adult education.
ACT NAIDOC Person of the Year for 2016 Dion Devow’s company specialises in clothing design and streetwear—producing everything from “on country” uniforms to NAIDOC and special event clothing and accessories.
Dilkara Essence of Australia
Created by 2016 NAIDOC Business Woman of the Year and salon owner Julie Okely, Dilkara Essence of Australia offers a wide range of hair products infused with potent Australian botanical ingredients, such as Kakadu Plum, Quandong and Native Peppermint Oil.
A Supply Nation registered Joint Venture with majority Indigenous ownership and control, Dimeo Cleaning Services has partnered with the founders of Gulanga to form this joint venture and support them in developing positive economic and social outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people around Australia.
Dream Danz Studios
Owned and operated by an Aboriginal woman, Dream Danz Studios specialises in Indigenous dance and different genres of dance for the Canberra community.
Dyurra Yhurramuulun Catering
Established in late 2019, Dyurra Yhurramuulun Catering specialises in bush tucker foods, teas, herbs and plants, including gift boxes, in-house catering (once COVID-restrictions allow) and DIY damper jars with speciality flavours like wattleseed, bunya nut and finger lime.
Emma Laverty Dance
A proud Boorooberongal Clanswoman of the Darug Tribe, Emma Laverty is a qualified dance teacher specialising in Aboriginal Contemporary dance, mentoring and cultural integrity.
Evolve FM Pty Ltd is the first Indigenous property and facilities management outsourcing company in Australia— and the only Facilities Management company in Australia with a female CEO, Amy Castro. Evolve FM partners with and foster Indigenous enterprise, by hiring and supporting Indigenous Australians and businesses.
Evolve delivers for their clients fully integrated best-in-class property services including Facilities Management, Property Management, Tenant Representation, Financial Management, Procurement, Data & Analytics and Project management.
Evolve FM is supply Nation registered & were awarded Registered Supplier of the Year 2018 and Outstanding Impact Award 2018.
Fernwood Canberra City
Wendy Brookman’s Fernwood franchise is dedicated to getting the best results for its clients, with tailored personal training programs, state-of-the-art fitness equipment and a wide range of group fitness classes.
First People’s Property Group
The First People’s Property group provides commercial and industrial cleaning, bulk waste and recycling management, window cleaning, carpet services and flood insurance work from its headquarters in Civic.
A creative arts business and an extensive online shop originating from the mid-north coast of NSW.
Krystal Hurst is a Worimi woman who designs handmade jewellery using materials from nature, and specialises in contemporary Aboriginal artworks on canvas, murals and running workshops.
The Gulanga Group is a Supply Nation-Certified Indigenous business based in Kingston which promotes the effective use of new and emerging Information and Communications Technology to deliver better business outcomes—particularly the government sphere.
A collective of freelance digital artists, IB Creative is a 100% Indigenous-owned full-service creative agency offering editorial and creative services, graphic design, video production (including live streaming), animation, branding strategy and more.
Indiginaus is a Canberra-based agency providing project management, professional printing services and graphic design alongside cultural awareness and cultural competency training for Canberra businesses.
Kumiai Ryu Martial Arts Weston
An Indigenous husband and wife run business located in Weston Creek, Kumiai Ryu Martial Arts Weston offers martial arts and fitness training for the whole family. Developing curriculums to help individuals to achieve their best, build confidence and look after their mind and body whilst making their training a way of life, Kumiai Ryu Martial Arts concentrates on cultivating life skills through martial arts training.
Larry Brandy Aboriginal Storyteller
A proud Wiradjuri man, Larry does a range of performances and early childhood talks and has published a book teaching kids the basics of Wiradjuri language counting and a colouring book featuring names and drawings of local plant and animal life.
Leah Brideson Arts
Artist and Kamilaroi woman Leah Brideson creates “visual yarns” with stunning colours on canvas, pots and fine art prints that would be beautiful additions to any home.
Little Oink and To All My Friends
Looking after the littles and the grown-ups, these two popular eating establishments at The Cook Shops are run by Shayne Taylor and Natalie Legg. Little Oink offers a colourful and child-friendly cafe environment, while To All My Friends serves up craft beer, happy hour, and gourmet pizza.
Stunning and vibrant, the contemporary Aboriginal art from Ngalindou has been previously commissioned for NAIDOC Week and by Tennis Australia.
Owned by Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi woman Maggie Douglas, Ngalindou means ‘we/ours’. For Maggie, the story behind the name of her business is she hopes that everyone can enjoy and learn from her artworks.
A 100 per cent Aboriginal owned and operated creative communications agency established for community.
Established by proud Warumungu/Wombaya woman Jessica Johnson, Nungala Creative produces innovative content with a distinct Aboriginal voice.
Currently Sydney-based but with capacity to work in the ACT.
Nura Nganymitung (Grandmother’s Country)
Gail Neuss paints from the heart. A proud Ngarigo woman, Gail is an educator and painter whose colourful works have been displayed around Canberra.
Niche Power Performance
A boutique gym with a focus on personal training, Niche Power Performance (NPP) is a welcoming, Indigenous-owned performance powerhouse located in Phillip.
Offering a wide range of classes from ‘Power’ and BoxFit to Mums and Bubs and Circus, there’s something for everyone.
Australia’s first 100% Indigenous owned and Supply Nation Certified recruitment agency based in Civic.
One of Twelve
Striking, unique and luxurious are three words that come to mind when browsing One of Twelve’s colourful range of silk scarves and ties.
This is because One of Twelve’s collections feature the vibrant, original artworks of some of Australia’s most talented First Nations artists.
Working closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art centres, One of Twelve’s dedicated team produce high-quality silk garments depicting traditional stories in contemporary designs.
Point River Networks
Point River Networks is a female-led, Supply Nation Certified, IT and Recruitment company specialising in Indigenous cadetships with a passion for pathways into STEM and Cyber related education and employment.
Point River Networks has been providing IT infrastructure and recruitment services to Federal, State and Territory Governments since 2017.
The Pipeline Group is Kingston-based and committed to growing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander candidates and to work with employers to ensure outstanding Indigenous candidates are brought to their attention.
Pipeline staff have delivered strategy and consulting services to organisations across Australia, ranging from a number of corporations in Australia’s top 200 ASX to small start-ups in remote communities.
Australia’s peak body for reconciliation is based here in Canberra and offers online resources around creating workplace Reconciliation Action Plans (RAP) and education tools to help schools create their own reconciliation frameworks.
Specialises in recruitment, labour hire, contract management and recruitment process outsourcing. Also registered with Supply Nation.
Cater your next event with flavourful sweet and savoury offerings from Ribanas Catering, who incorporate native Australian flavours into their dishes.
Or, if you’re looking to really experience the taste of Australia, order the Taste of the Outback platter, which includes kangaroo sausages, crocodile tenderloins, and spiced emu sliders…
Sip, Swig and Swallow
A gorgeous vintage van (named Joan) which hit the road this year to serve cocktails or coffee (or both) at special events.
When Joan rolls in, you know you’re going to have a great party!
Let stylist Casey Keed reinvigorate your wardrobe—or better yet, take you on a personal shopping trip. From wardrobe overhauls to styling looks for special occasions, Casey will help you look and feel your best.
Synergy Four Services
Indigenous-owned, Synergy Four Services is proud to be a family operated commercial cleaning business based in Canberra. With over 10 years of experience, the team provides quality residential cleans to a range of local and regional clients as well as specialising in construction and commercial cleaning services.
Téa and Belle
This online gifts and homewares store was created by Canberra youngsters Téa and Belle (pictured above), and stocks everything from candles with iconic Australian scents to clothing, stationery and leather goods.
This Is Creative
A Canberra-based creative agency run by siblings Nathan and Kate Dukes, This Is Creative can help you out with all your video and marketing needs, as well as events.
Thunderstone Aboriginal Cultural Services
Thunderstone Aboriginal Cultural Services is committed to educating the wider community about Aboriginal culture and heritage, specifically the culture, history and stories of the Ngunawal people of Canberra and region and offer tours and workshops.
Thomas Coen Jewellery
Mixing high-end contemporary jewellery with Aboriginal art, each piece is designed by proud Jawoyn and Kala Lagaw Ya man Thomas Coen and carries with it a symbolic meaning.
Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (TOAC)
At the heart of Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation’s purpose is our desire to inspire and enable all Australians to contribute to the reconciliation of the nation.
TOAC specialises in connecting indigenous people and businesses with each other and the broader community, to not only improve their lives but enrich our wider society.
Established in 2016, this Aboriginal-owned organisation provides services in printing, promotional products, web and graphic design and facilitation.
Waybarra by Garigarra
Garigarra makes handwoven art to be worn or displayed and specialises in running weaving workshops, using traditional Aboriginal weaving practices passed on to her by her Elders.
A cyber, ICT and professional services business, Willyama assists government clients by providing high-quality services outcomes, as well as helping them meet their Indigenous Procurement Policy targets.
WINYA supplies workstations, sit-stand desks, task seating, lounges and storage, lockers and boardrooms through Indigenous employment-focused manufacturing at their base in Queanbeyan.
Wolf Lab Studio
Wolf Lab is an award-winning, boutique video production studio that has a passion for cinematic style storytelling. With over 30 years of broadcast television and creative production experience, Wolf Lab currently provides high quality production services to all major TV networks within Australia.
While online marketplace and gift store Yarn is based in Brisbane, they stock a range of items from local Indigenous-owned brands such as Dilkara, as well as items from other Australian Indigenous-owned brands.
Yerra provides web design, Facebook marketing services, business analysis, contracting and recruitment services and ICT services alongside support for other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.
Adam Shipp offers a range of services to connect the community with traditional food and medicine based on plants from the ACT and surrounding region.
He delivers guided walks, workshops and bush tucker cooking classes as well as running an online shop which specialises in traditional plants and medicines.
Feature image: Dilkara Essence of Australia. Photography: Lori Cicchini.