A revegetation business to help encourage younger Indigenous generations into employment in Western Australia.
Today we are sharing Sandra and Edwin’s small business journey. A story about how they built a revegetation business in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia. Sandra and Edwin started the small business last year with the ambition to help and encourage younger Indigenous generations into the workforce.
“We started our business because we want to help our younger generation, to show them that you can go out and find work or start your own business. With Indigenous people, they can be shy, so we wanted to set an example for them and show them that you can do it.”
Meet Sandra and Edwin
Our business is a revegetation business. So, we work with mining companies and other companies that require revegetation. We also deal with the Forest Product Commission (FPC) with sandalwood. We are collecting dead sandalwood and we supply that to FPC so people can make products out of them. We started in July 2019.
Edwin was working in the mines and I was working for the Department of Child Protection and Human Services, like Centrelink. I’ve done a lot of work to look after our mob.
We were told about Many Rivers through the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KBCCI).
Together with Many Rivers
They helped in a big way! We wouldn’t have got anywhere without Many Rivers! Because we were with KBCCI, I was still learning about how to run a business and then we started working with Many Rivers, and then it was like “bang!” They really showed me a lot and taught me a lot.
With me, because I didn’t know anything about running a business, they have helped us a lot. And actually they still are working with us today. Sometimes running the business can get a bit difficult, so Janine is always helping us. We can call her when we need, even when I am far away or out of town, and Janine has been very available.
Sourcing a loan with Many Rivers
We are in that process now. We will be using it for a cheap vehicle, a 4×4 trailer and two chainsaws.
We have two employees. They are part-time now because Covid-19 slowed us right down! They are family, two young Aboriginal boys.
The biggest success has been actually going out and starting our first job! And we have signed a contract with the Forest Product Commission, so that is a success.
The biggest challenge so far has been coming out and speaking to people. I am still feeling a bit shy and so is my partner Edwin, so dealing with our customers and negotiating prices and talking to people has been a challenge.
There have been lots of changes for us. We feel better in ourselves. We are moving forward in our life. We didn’t have hope about the future before – we were constantly working and getting nowhere, but since we started the business we are seeing a lot of difference.
We want to get more of our people out and working and show them not to be scared. We can tell them that there are places like Many Rivers, who is there to help any Indigenous person and don’t be afraid to go out and try; there is always work out there.
Thanks Sandra and Edwin for sharing your story. We love your passion and how you are supporting your local community.
We want to encourage more and more people to take that first step towards building on their small business dreams.
Please take the Small Business Self Assessment and see if we are right for you.