Jump Start – Collaborating to Connect
It’s the Uber of business coaching, the Airtasker for skilled volunteering, and the RSVP for community-minded professionals. When asked ‘What is Jump Start?’ it is often described in these terms, however the plan is for it to be much more.
In short, Jump Start is an innovative collaboration between Supply Nation, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (Commbank)and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and has provided both Commbank and HPE with an exciting opportunity to engage their people in using their own unique skillset to further reconciliation.
How Jump Start came to be is a tale of two journeys that came together.
Supply Nation, established in 2009 to connect Australia’s leading brands and governments with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses across the country, boasts 259 corporate, government and community organisations and 1,200 Indigenous suppliers as members. Over the course of its eight-year existence, Supply Nation has supported Indigenous businesses to secure contracts with some of Australia’s biggest corporates and government agencies.
But while Supply Nation has successfully connected Indigenous suppliers with its members, enabling them to access business networks and skilled support has proven an altogether more difficult challenge.
Yet from our greatest challenges, some of our best ideas are born.
Early last year, David Whiteing, Commonwealth Bank’s Group Executive for Enterprise Services and Executive Sponsor for Reconciliation, took his leadership team to Bawaka in North East Arnhem Land. The trip was an opportunity to not only learn about one of the oldest cultures in the world, that of the Yolngu peoples, but it also provided time for David’s leadership team to determine what they would focus on as part of the Group’s Elevate RAP.
On returning to Sydney, David sponsored Supply Nation’s Indigenous Entrepreneur Tour of Silicon Valley, and it was there, in the world’s tech and innovation capital, where the Jump Start concept was conceived.
So then, what does Jump Start actually do?
In essence it is a technology platform that aims to access resources to the benefit of Indigenous businesses. With the many hundreds of corporates, government departments, not-for-profits and community organisations now having a RAP (many being members of Supply Nation), it means that millions of Australians are working or studying with organisations committed to reconciliation and Indigenous equality. Jump Start aims to tap into the skills that sit across these organisations to provide meaningful ways for people – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous – to connect.
Through the Jump Start App, skilled volunteers are able to create an online profile, outlining their skills and the times they are available to volunteer. As and when certified suppliers of Supply Nation require specific skills to support them with projects, they are able to create a succinct brief outlining the project for which they seek assistance. This might be around cash flow forecasting, a PR campaign for the launch of a new product or coaching in preparation for a tender pitch for example.
The project briefs are made available to all registered volunteers, and with the simple press of a button, those with the right skills are connected to the Indigenous business seeking the skills. The platform is a simple to use way to link people, and from there entrepreneurs and skilled volunteers are able to further discuss the brief and arrange a suitable time to connect.
The program has also expanded to include Jump Start workshops with the Commbank Innovation team running sessions with Indigenous businesses. The first series of workshops took Indigenous businesses through design thinking and experimentation frameworks that help entrepreneurs better identify customers’ needs, de-risk new business ideas and ensure that the products or services they deliver are desirable, viable and feasible.
Successful workshops have been run on the Gold Coast and in Townsville, and as more Supply Nation members join up to Jump Start, the workshops will be expanded to other locations and topics.
Since the project started, Commbank’s Enterprise Services division has also committed to achieving three per cent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment across the division by December 2026.
Image: Participants at the Jump Start workshop in Townsville.