Indigenous businesses supported through unique funding partnership

| November 12, 2020

Emerging Indigenous businesses will be provided with access to capital with Westpac announcing a unique funding partnership with independent, philanthropically funded, Indigenous-led organisation, First Australians Capital (FAC).

The partnership will help transition Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses to become sustainable so they can qualify for mainstream lending products to help start and grow their business.

Suzi Hullick, Westpac’s National Head of Indigenous Banking said Westpac is delighted to partner with FAC to help support Indigenous-led businesses in their growth phase.

“As Australia’s first bank, we are committed to backing all Australian businesses, including supporting the growing Indigenous sector businesses and entrepreneurs through our great partnership with FAC.

“We recognise Indigenous business is an important growth element of Australia’s economic recovery. That’s why we’ve come up with a unique shared security structure which will help transition those businesses to become sustainable in their own right to qualify for mainstream lending products with the confidence to pursue the next best thing for them.”

Through the partnership, FAC will work with businesses to get them loan ready and provide ongoing wraparound support after the loan is guaranteed by Westpac and FAC in equal shares. Loan readiness includes robust due diligence and building capacity as needed through a panel of probono service providers across legal services, IT, marketing and sales, inventory and supply chain management.

Leah Armstrong, Co-founder of FAC said her organisation has provided support to more than 400 Indigenous businesses – which in the last year alone have created more than 100 additional jobs for Indigenous people.

“The unique partnership with Westpac plugs a huge gap in the market. Historically, Indigenous entrepreneurs with viable businesses have been unable to access mainstream banking because the barriers are higher.

“There’s much less of the inter-generational wealth transfer or home ownership you need as security for loans, and they don’t have a track record of trading.

“We’re definitely seeing a lot more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people considering business ownership as their way of achieving economic outcomes for their community as well as their own wellbeing and family wealth.”