Woolworths Group has invested over $5.9 million in local Indigenous businesses to supply over 300,000 litres of hand sanitiser for its Australian retail store teams and customers during COVID-19.
The supermarket giant approached small Indigenous owned businesses such as Supply Aus, Cole Workwear and Position Promo, when COVID-19 was at its peak to get much needed hand sanitiser supplies to its stores.
Woolworths Group has invested over $5
.9 million to back these local Indigenous businesses to ensure these companies could continue to operate.
Victorian-based Indigenous company Supply Aus was on the brink of collapse with only $5000 in their bank account due to the impact of COVID-19 on their business.
Through the Group’s upfront investment, Supply Aus were able to go above and beyond, chartering a plane to bring over 100 tonnes of hand sanitiser into the country to help those at risk at a time it was needed most.
Shawn Andrews, Chairperson of Supply Aus said in the first week of March, the small business was discussing the real possibilities of how it could survive with less than $5000 in the company’s bank account.
“With the support of Woolworths, we have been incredibly proud to be able to supply hand sanitiser to frontline workers, keep our business running and continue to grow employment opportunities,” he said.
“This is proof that Indigenous businesses are dynamic and capable. We are familiar with working under pressure and are solution
Shawn said it’s personal for the company as his mum works in a Woolworths supermarket and they are using the very same hand sanitiser it brought in at their store.
“We are extremely grateful for the opportunity. The flow-on effect of a brand like Woolworths partnering with a small Indigenous business like ourselves will provide higher comfort levels for more Indigenous businesses to come on board,” he said.
Brad Banducci, Woolworths Group CEO, said the group has deep respect for Indigenous businesses like Supply Aus and do not take lightly the impact that Woolworths’ support can have not just on the business, but for the communities in which they operate.
“We are grateful to work with the many Indigenous businesses who have gone above and beyond during this crisis. The
y were innovative in their solutions and quick to turn around the much needed supplies to help keep our teams and communities safe during an uncertain time,” he said.
Similarly, Cole Workwear is a proudly Noongar owned and operated business who was able to supply Woolworths with 150,000 litres of locally sourced hand sanitiser through this period.
Woolworths Group currently engages with over 18 Indigenous suppliers and employs over 3800 team members who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.