Brisbane-based Baidam Solutions has been honoured by the Queensland state Government for its work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, specifically its ICT scholarships.
The company was awarded the winner of the Business category of the Queensland Reconciliation Award, joining four other winners in various fields.
Baidam was honoured for becoming the first Indigenous business in Australia to set up and fund university scholarships in perpetuity over the past 18 months.
"To be able to be recognised for an award in our sovereign state is truly humbling because we focus on Queensland as much as we focus on the rest of the nation," Baidam Group chief executive Jack Reis told CRN.
"Winning the Business category as a cybersecurity company meant we had to have a capability around what we deliver, and what we deliver was outcomes for our customers."
Baidam co-founder Neil Templeman told CRN, “We’re honoured to receive this award and it is testament to the work we were doing with the Queensland Government’s ever-evolving cybersecurity requirements, and the pathways and opportunities we’ve created for First Nations Australians.”
“This win would help increase trust and commerce with the Queensland Government, which has started to really pave the way for First Nations inclusion in tenders and bids.”
The awards announcement from the Queensland Government said Baidam takes “a multipronged approach” to ensure the IT industry’s future benefits from Indigenous input amid a skills shortage and a tendency to source projects offshore.
“To date, [Baidam’s] initiative has already seen Indigenous peoples go from curious to accredited to entry-level employees in the ICT industry,” the announcement read.
“Their initiative provides clear pathways for accreditation and employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The business aims to continue to create a space for Indigenous youth in the booming ICT and cybersecurity fields, ensuring that the commercial gains from the industry go back to local communities.”
The Queensland Reconciliation Award is an initiative of the Queensland Government through the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.
The winners of the four other awards were the Queensland Police Service, Wugu Nyambil and Yarrabah Shire Council (Premier’s Reconciliation Award and Partnership), Hinchinbrook Shire Council (Community), Blackwater State High School (Education) and The Pass the Fire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation (Health and Wellbeing).
Queensland Minister for Seniors, Disability Services and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Craig Crawford said, “Reconciliation requires us to be courageous in our commitment to truth-telling and honesty about our shared history.”
“This takes ongoing work from government, business, the community – from each and every one of us. We can’t undo the past, but we can mend the present, and aspire to a bright new future.”
Supply Nation Supplier Diversity Awards
Last month, Reis was awarded the Sam Tjengala Reuben Award at the Supply Nation Supplier Diversity Awards, which honoured young entrepreneurs.
Speaking to CRN, Reis said the award was an honour and a sign of hard work and tenacity.
"It's a sign of relevancy within our market and industry, and also Indigenous businesses," he said.
"Four years ago, we had a lot of non-believers on what we wanted to achieve, but fast forward to today we're shifting the needle not only within Indigenous businesses but also within our industry of cybersecurity and IoT in general.
"I'll accept the award and thank you to all those involved in the award process, but I'm only as strong as the team behind me that I lead."
Posting on LinkedIn, Reis said, “Thank you to all of the supporters and believers of our mission. You have supported our journey since the beginning. This award is something I do not take lightly as I’m in the spotlight as a role model and leader for my people, my community, my family and my industry.”
“Thank you to Supply Nation for a great event and to EY for presenting my award.”
“To my team: you’re the best, my biggest supporters and advocates for our mission. I’m proud to be your leader.”
Reis also posted a video of his acceptance speech here.