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Building Better Social Enterprises: Supporting the Next Generation of Indigenous Leaders

June 14, 2017

Last updated on February 27, 2018

Indigenous Employment Partners (IEP) is a wholly Indigenous owned and operated enterprise with a mission to provide culturally appropriate employment, recruitment and training services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to address the high-level of poverty and hardship that exists for Indigenous Australians. Founding partners Dennis Batty, Nicole Findlay and Sara Stuart share their insights on working to grow IEP through Social Traders’ Crunch.

  • How do IEP’s support programs work?

DB: We specialise in delivering a broad range of cultural, recruitment and strategic services aimed at supporting working age Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, facing multiple barriers, looking for work.  Our services also support Employers wanting to or required to, contractually speaking, build socially inclusive and culturally safe workplaces for Aboriginal employees.

We deliver to organisations that want an Indigenous supplier who can provide an end-to-end recruitment service that covers their cultural, strategic, procurement, training and placement support for potential candidates and their existing workforce.  The type of organisations we service include businesses that:

– Hold a procurement contract with the Australian Government.
– Consider Indigenous employment as part of their corporate social responsibility.
– Have identified Indigenous employment as part of their social purpose.

  • What impact has IEP achieved so far?

SS: Since commencing business Indigenous Employment Partners has successfully placed 14 Aboriginal people into employment with 100% retention rate.

Furthermore, through the services we have delivered to Employers, we have directly and indirectly improved access and opportunities for Aboriginal job seekers by:

– Improving Aboriginal recruitment practices and procedures
– Building greater Aboriginal cultural awareness, competency and capacity
– Auditing and improving Cultural safety for Aboriginal employees
– Reviewing and supporting Indigenous employment and procurement commitments/targets
– Increasing Aboriginal participation in their workplaces

  • What made IEP look at participating in Social Traders’ Crunch accelerator program?

NF: Indigenous Employment Partners is strongly committed to building an enterprise on solid sustainable foundations supported by Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal partners.  We saw much benefit in participating in the Social Traders’ Crunch program because we knew it would offer us a ‘one-stop’ opportunity to engage with business development experts, resources and investment stakeholders who could assist us to create and develop an appropriate and sustainable business model.  We also knew it would present us with a valuable opportunity to better understand our business capabilities and further build on our skills, particularly in financial management.


IEP Founding Partners Sara Stuart, Nicole Findlay & Dennis Batty


  • What has been the most valuable and most challenging thing you’ve learned through ST Crunch?

SS: I would say the most valuable thing for me is having a room full of passionate and caring people to bounce off. Having the ability to have a safe sounding board to give their opinions on how we are tracking and what we could do better or different has been amazing. The most challenging has been the commitment to the time frame with business still running and family life!

  • What is the future vision for IEP?

SS: I would like to see us grow from the three of us and start mentoring the next generation of our people to skill them up to be leaders and business owners. I would like IEP to play an integral role in finally closing the gap.


Indigenous Employment Partners took part in Social Traders’ Crunch start-up accelerator in 2017. Applications for ST Crunch are open now until June 22, 2017.

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