Black Coffee group

Once a month a group of passionate Indigenous enterprises and their supporters (local businesses and entrepreneurs) get together in Toowoomba, in South East Queensland, to have a yarn.

Ventia's Queensland Regional Indigenous Steering Committee (RISC) Chair Marco Waanders has taken up the role of coordinator for the event, which is in support of the Indigenous business networking organisation, Black Coffee.

Established with the intention of providing a forum for Indigenous enterprises and entrepreneurs to network with the wider business community and to provide an opportunity for mentoring, capacity building and ultimately developing commercial relationships, the catch-ups eased off in 2020 due to the restrictions around COVID.

"It was great to start this back up again in March this year," Marco says. "Each month an invitation is sent to around 100 people, and at the last meeting I was pleased to welcome representatives from organisation like Inland Rail, the Toowoomba Regional Council and Toowoomba Surat Basin Enterprise."

Marco says the sessions are informal and usually run for around two hours, however this year they're looking at highlighting a new vendor or service provider each month:

By showcasing some of the newer businesses in town, it gives them a chance to get established and build a name for themselves.

Black Coffee group

The size and scope of the businesses that participate ranges from single operator to quite large organisations like Ventia, and they offer products and services from maintenance to earth moving, catering and promotional items.

"Through Black Coffee, Ventia's Rig and Well Services business engaged an Indigenous-owned promotional items provider, and our Roads business built a relationship with an Indigenous-owned earth moving business," Marco notes.

One of the most satisfying parts of his involvement in Black Coffee is the opportunity to help growing businesses in the region.

Providing mentorship and connecting people with new opportunities is something I really enjoy, and I'm looking forward to doing that with a new cross-section of people in 2021.

Originating in Queensland but now operating nationally, Black Coffee events are held in regions around Australia each month. In Toowoomba, participants meet on the first Thursday of every month to get together and yarn (i.e. network and build relationships). If you're interested in learning more about Black Coffee visit their website

Black Coffee group


Reconciliation Week runs from 27 May to 3 June. This year's theme is: More than a word, reconciliation takes action.

Read more about Indigenous employment program.

Read more about our approach to Indigenous participation.

Read more about our approach to Indigenous participation.