Biripi Capital, Australia’s first Aboriginal-owned private equity firm, today announced the financial close of an initial tranche of A$20 million investment from Melbourne-based Hudson Food Group.
With this investment, Hudson Food Group takes a minority ownership position in Supply Nation registered company
The Dreaming Food Group, which was established by Biripi Capital in 2021 to compete at scale in Australia’s food industry, focusing on mainstream food services distribution, food manufacturing and brand creation. With the first stage of its manufacturing capability set to come online in early 2022, The Dreaming Food Group is targeting A$100 million in revenue within the next two years.
The Dreaming Food Group, co-founded by Aboriginal business leaders David Liddiard OAM and Michael Manikas, both Biripi men, is a for-purpose enterprise that is seeking to redefine the role business can play in creating positive social impact.
One third of all The Dreaming Food Group’s profits will go to The Dreaming Foundation, a not-for-profit charity established to fund Aboriginal-led organisations in delivering programs and initiatives that directly contribute to Closing the Gap.
Due to the nature of the investment and ultimate impact The Dreaming Food Group will have through The Dreaming Foundation, this transaction is believed to be the largest impact investment into an Aboriginal business ever made in Australia.
“Today we’re excited to share with Australia a new model for corporate purpose, and it’s incredibly fitting that we are doing so as a First Nations-owned and led business,” said Michael Manikas, co-founder and executive chairman of The Dreaming Food Group.
“We’ve been working closely with the Hudson Food Group over the past six months to develop an investment structure that embeds maximum social impact into the very core of our operating model.
“This investment will be critical for our growth and impact ambitions over the next two years.”
“As a successful business in the food industry for over 40 years, we are delighted to make this impact investment into The Dreaming Food Group” said Frank Karkalas, chief executive officer of Hudson Food Group.
“We were determined to ensure that there was a model that could exist for us to help fund the growth and development of the business and make a meaningful difference to our reconciliation journey as a company and as individuals to Close the Gap.
“More needs to be done by corporate Australia, and through this investment, more can be done”.
With its head office in Sydney on Eora Country, The Dreaming Food Group is focused on four key areas of growth: food services (providing hospitality venues with over 5500 pantry style food supplies), food manufacturing, the development of consumer food products and brands and native ingredients.
The investment from Hudson Food Group will fund a quicker route to scalability in the market as well as open additional growth opportunities across the business, with a specific emphasis on establishing a world-class manufacturing capability.
“With today’s announcement, we are making a compelling argument to the Australian business community: doing well is not in conflict with doing good,” said David Liddard OAM, co-founder of The Dreaming Food Group and chief impact officer of The Dreaming Foundation.
“Our ambitions for success with The Dreaming Food Group are fueled by our vision for the impact we can make to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia through The Dreaming Foundation.”
At the core of the model, the more successful The Dreaming Food Group is by profit, the greater funding pool The Dreaming Foundation will have to invest in Aboriginal-led organisations which are working to Close the Gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
The Dreaming Food Group is on track to be profitable within its first year, which in turn will translate to immediate funding for The Dreaming Foundation to begin its work in achieving impact. The Dreaming Food Group business will also support Indigenous employment, supply chain and other social outcomes.
The Dreaming Foundation is the only charity or foundation of its kind, looking at providing non-governmental funding across the 17 Close the Gap targets.
In addition, the work of the Foundation is to champion Closing the Gap independent of Government and to connect Government, corporate Australia and Aboriginal-led charities and organisations.
The Dreaming Foundation Limited is registered with the Australian Charities & Not for Profit Commission as a Public Benevolent Institution and a charity which is Advancing Social or Public Welfare and holds deductible gift recipient registration status with the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
The first grants to be awarded by The Dreaming Foundation are expected to be made in the areas of Indigenous mental health, culture and healing.
The impact investment was led and structured by Biripi Capital in house by its Chief Operating Officer Anthony Ward and supported by K&L Gates as strategic lead advisor to the transaction.