The Humble Pilbara Brew Waking Thousands Every Day

Published on : 3/19/24
  • What began as a humble collaboration to elevate an Aboriginal business has burgeoned into a national success story, contributing to both business growth and community upliftment—thanks to investment and incubation by Sodexo Australia

    The Beginnings

    Australian Indigenous Coffee (AiC) has expanded faster than many small businesses, with sustainable growth backed by Sodexo Australia (Sodexo).  

    Brothers Ezekiel and Blaze Kwaymullina, Palyku people from the inland Pilbara region of Western Australia, started AiC in 2013 with less than $5,000.  

    It started as a small, family business, with Ezekiel a writer and coffee lover, and Blaze, an academic, invited to supply a small amount of coffee to clients in the Pilbara region. Before long, AiC realised that clients needed an integrated solution, including beans, training, machines and servicing.  

    A meeting in 2016 changed the course of the company when Sodexo, which provides food and facilities management services in Corporate and Energy & Resources sectors, decided for AIC to supply coffee to a number of its sites. This meant instant scaling and allowed AIC to quickly become the largest Aboriginal-owned coffee supplier in Western Australia. 

    The subsequent relationship between the two entities has been a fruitful one, exemplifying the perfect blend of corporate responsibility and social entrepreneurship.  

    The Partnership

    Seeing the potential of the Aboriginal-owned business to expand its operations further than the Pilbara, Sodexo’s investment in AiC was the catalyst eight years ago that transformed the business into one of largest coffee suppliers with a presence throughout the country.  

    AiC is served at more than 40 of Sodexo’s sites, including Sodexo’s largest segment of Energy and Resources.  

    As Sodexo’s coffee bean supplier of choice, AiC has sold more than 20 tonnes to the leading facilities management organisation to be used in their 150 coffee machines across Australia.   

    AIC_coffee.jpgAustralian Indigenous Coffee

    Australian Indigenous Coffee’s blends are inspired by the Pilbara country, with the earthy textures of the red desert plains, the bright highlights of the spinifex and the rich aromas of the bush. It is a middle-of-the-road blend: strong, chocolatey and earthy. 

    The Impact - Achieved Together

    The ultimate outcome of the partnership between AiC and Sodexo demonstrates an active commitment to doing good within the communities in which they live and work. The incubation Sodexo has provided AiC has enabled the family business to enhance its social impact, funding multiple initiatives that benefit Aboriginal communities. These community impacts include:  

    • Literacy: Through Beans to Books, AiC has invested $55,000 in purchasing books for underprivileged children across Australia, fostering a culture of literacy and education. 
    • Creative Grants: To date, $40,000 has been committed to a creative grant fund, aimed at nurturing artistic and cultural projects within Aboriginal communities. AiC have committed an additional $100,000 for future endeavours. 
    • Special Projects: AiC have allocated $80,000 to support various specialty projects, including writing workshops, bespoke book creation, Aboriginal business support, and young athlete support.  

    Sodexo is proud to support AiC’s continued development, sharing in the commitment to drive positive change—socially and economically.  

    “Something as simple as coffee can actually tie into a range of social and community benefits. Australian Indigenous Coffee and Sodexo Australia have demonstrated the incredible outcomes that arise from a partnership built on mutual respect, a shared vision, and a commitment to community impact. As a result, we have created a blueprint for how businesses can thrive while making a genuine difference in the world.” 

    Ezekiel Kwaymullina, CEO of Australian Indigenous Coffee 

    “When we invest in Indigenous businesses, we aren’t just providing monetary support—we are investing in partnerships, mentorships, and vendor relations that take these businesses to the next level. By providing this level of support, we are paying forward positive community impact, both within the immediate business and the communities in which they operate.” 

    Jacqueline Littlejohn, Sodexo General Manager, Indigenous Affairs 

    Sodexo’s RAP Journey

    Sodexo is committed to developing opportunities for indigenous people, businesses, and communities across Australia. As of 2023, Sodexo has invested $74 million with First Nations Suppliers and partnered with over 70 Indigenous businesses. Sodexo is recognised as a Supply Nation Supplier Diversity Advocate, with the highest Indigenous spend across Facilities Management companies in Australia.

    By promoting the community impact of businesses such as AiC, Sodexo’s investment continues to bridge the gap between corporate Australia and Indigenous businesses, infusing funds into local communities.  

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