An Aboriginal owned and operated supplier of stationery and office products has become the first business supplying to a Wesfarmers Group division to access a unique fund established by Wesfarmers to support the growth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.
Cultural Choice, located on the NSW Central Coast, and a supplier to Officeworks, was today announced as the first recipient of $100,000 funding from the new Wesfarmers BOAB Fund. The funding will assist with product development for Cultural Choice’s private label Indigenous range and the purchase of plant and equipment for its first dedicated warehouse in Tuggerah, NSW.
The funding is the first from the Wesfarmers BOAB (Building Outstanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Businesses) Fund, which has been launched to provide funding and business support to small to medium Indigenous businesses who are existing suppliers to the Group, to support them to develop and scale.
“Increasing the diversity of our supplier base is an important area where we can make a real difference to the economic prosperity of Indigenous people and communities, while also enhancing our own businesses,” Wesfarmers Managing Director Rob Scott said.
“Linking the funding to emerging businesses which are current suppliers to the Group is important because our engagement as a customer can deliver ongoing income and dedicated support which directly helps the businesses to innovate and grow.”
Cultural Choice was founded in 2016 by Mark Watson, a Gamilaroi man from Walgett in NSW, and his wife Jodie, who is the business’ General Manager. It currently distributes over 6,000 products to government and corporate customers, including a private label Indigenous range of more than 30 products in hygiene, office and washroom categories, with artwork designed by Mark. Officeworks currently ranges 11 Cultural Choice products online, including copy paper, notebooks, tissues and hand sanitiser. Cultural Choice donates 10 cents from every private label product sold to assist in prevention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth suicide.
Jodie Watson said Officeworks had been very supportive of Cultural Choice and the BOAB funding would support the business’ growth and product development. “As an Indigenous business, it is good to be able to work with companies that do support the community and want to support the business as well,” she said.
Officeworks Managing Director Sarah Hunter said Cultural Choice had been a partner for over two years and Officeworks was proud to continue to play a small role in supporting their business growth plans and their important work to prevent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth suicide.
“The BOAB Fund is a great example of the value we put on supplier diversity and connecting with communities where we live and work,’’ Ms Hunter said.