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Westpac and Many Rivers partnership celebrates 1,000 businesses, including 500 Indigenous businesses


30 July 2016


  • Deloitte Access Economics report finds these businesses have a higher survival rate than the national average, with 75% of businesses successfully reaching their first year of operation
  • Clients accessing welfare decreases and personal assets increase as businesses continue to operate
  • Westpac has committed a further $2.25 million for Many Rivers' expansion into new regions


At the Yothu Yindi Foundation's Garma Festival today Westpac and Many Rivers celebrated the establishment and expansion of 1,000 businesses, 500 of which are Indigenous owned businesses. Many Rivers now operates in 25 locations across the country with an emphasis on regional and remote communities. Since 2009, Westpac and Many Rivers have partnered to offer microenterprise development support, including access to business loans totalling $5.7 million.


Recognising the success of the Many Rivers approach, Westpac today announced a further $2.25 million in funding. This will allow Many Rivers to support more aspiring business owners across Australia..


Speaking at the Garma Festival held in the Northern Territory today to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, David Lindberg, Chief Executive, Business Bank, Westpac said our partnership with Many Rivers help contribute to lasting social and financial outcomes for business owners and their communities.


"At Westpac, we believe backing business is essential for the prosperity and growth of our nation. This must include  supporting the economic participation of people who have traditionally faced barriers to start and grow their businesses. Inclusion is particularly important in regional and remote Australia. We have chosen to partner with Many Rivers because it has made tangible differences to the lives of many people who are now self-employed and creating new jobs for others.


"As we enter our third century in business, we believe we have a role to play in shaping a positive future for Australia. Partnership with organisations like Many Rivers is critical to building sustainable businesses and communities for tomorrow," said Mr Lindberg.


Deloitte Access Economics' recent report titled 'Evaluating Many Rivers' Microenterprise Development Program' reinforces the powerful, tangible impact the program is having on local communities. Led by Professor Ian Harper, the report found that each new Many Rivers business has a higher survival rate than the national average for similar businesses. Other key findings included a decrease in the number of clients accessing welfare and an increase in the number of clients with personal assets over $50,000 from 23 percent to 38 percent.


John Burn, CEO and Managing Director of Many Rivers said real economic participation is vital to overcoming the structural disadvantages faced by many Australians.


"In many of the places that Many Rivers works there are limited job opportunities. Therefore, enterprise is critical to providing people with a trajectory out of disadvantage. Many Rivers provides multi-year, practical business support and encouragement. We support our clients to start in business, stay in business and thrive in business. The first measure of success is when a client generates their first income and the long-term measures are the economic and social benefits that arise when people feel valued and are supporting their families and communities.


"Access to finance and other banking products is essential to enabling our clients to establish and grow their businesses. We are delighted to continue our partnership with Westpac," Mr Burn concluded.


For further information on Many Rivers, please visit: