Indigenous Procurement Opportunities – Missing Link to Indigenous Procurement Success?

Indigenous Procurement Opportunities – The Missing Link in Indigenous Procurement Success?

For me personally, it has been interesting to decide what role I can play in improving outcomes to close the gap in Indigenous Procurement and what I could do to contribute to Indigenous Procurement Opportunities.

I have to admit that at times, it is a real struggle not to feel as if I am on my soap box when I talk about Indigenous Procurement and why I really don’t think it should be so difficult. Sometimes I feel as if I am a lone voice out in the desert.

After all, I have seen success and contributed to success in a former role.

Thus, when I set out with my own procurement advisory firm, I decided to do something in the Indigenous procurement space.


Because I saw what a difference it made when we combined procurement leadership and opportunity.

I saw the rewards of building trust and long term relationships.

Way back in 2016, I was privileged to attend a Codeswitch event as a guest. To be honest, as a start up business owner, I could not afford the ticket and was so incredibly glad that I got a free ticket.

I sat in the room listening to inspiring stories, challenges and really amazing achievements. And I started writing about what Indigenous Procurement is and what it is not.

The key theme that came up time and time again was – access or lack thereof to…

Indigenous Procurement Opportunities…

We rejoice and celebrate the successes in Indigenous Procurement in the media. But –  do we know how long it took for these companies to be able to celebrate some level of success?

Do we know how long it took, how many conversations before an Indigenous company finally got to speak to “procurement”?

And finally got to the procurement process?

When you speak to Indigenous business owners , they tell you it really took 5 years or more before they could really start to breath.

Some say that they are allowed an opportunity as long as they can come in lower than the incumbent.  A position that is fair neither to the incumbent or the incoming Indigenous business.

Some say that they are issued with a monthly purchase order – and had been for more than 12 months.

Read More: Aboriginal Procurement Opportunities – 10 Small Steps Procurement Can Take to Open the Door to Opportunities>>

Procurement’s engagement … or lack thereof

In the past year or so I attended other events – all about procurement’s engagement with Indigenous business.

It is great to see some level of success. At least a curiosity to learn more.

However, in many instances, as a procurement professional, the profession astounds me by how difficult we make it to deal with procurement.  How little regard we pay to the struggles of Indigenous business and small business in accessing an opportunity for participating in procurement opportunities.

Not hand out in any way – just a fair chance to have a go at a competitive process.

Not making it more difficult than it already is.

As procurement, we have a significant role and responsibility to play in creating Indigenous Procurement opportunities.

Opportunity leads to experience.

Experience leads to growth.

Growth leads to Indigenous Procurement Success.

The Missing Link

Maybe the missing link is opportunity.

The missing link may also be procurement. Procurement failing to show leadership and integrity in engaging with Indigenous business.

Maybe the missing link is not having someone do the introduction or connect the dots.

A missing link implies two connections – without a connection.

What role can I play?

I can continue to take my soap box with me in life. Talk about connection – help to bring simplicity to the process and join the links.

Continue to tell people (including procurement) about the good, solid Indigenous businesses that are capable of producing results.

As a procurement professional, what role can you play?

Make a start.  Be open to have a constructive conversation about how you can create Indigenous procurement opportunities in your organisation.

Read More: Take 5 to Improve the Performance of your Procurement Team>>

Be respectful of people’s time and the impact to business on wasted time.

If you get stuck, feel free to talk to me and my soap box. We do workshops on how to get started.

Have a great day!

Celia Jordaan

About Celia:

Celia Jordaan has more than 22 years international and corporate experience and worked in the areas of procurement, tenders, supply chain, contract management, law and risk. She works with business, procurement leaders and teams to develop and implement strategies to boost business performance, make tendering easy and improve bottom line performance.
To learn more about Celia Jordaan, please click here.
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