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Protecting the digital landscape

“Think about cyber security. Think about one of the world's oldest living cultures. We were the first threat hunters.” - Jack Reis, Baidam Solutions

Jack Reis and Mundanara Bayles

Growing up as a proud Badulaig descendant from the island of Badu in the Torres Strait, Jack Reis knows all about nurturing and protecting the land – now he is bringing that mindset to the world of cybersecurity.


Speaking on the “Black Magic Woman Podcast”, the First Nation’s entrepreneur outlined the six-year journey of his cybersecurity consultancy, Baidam Solutions, and its successes in securing contracts, including as a supplier to ANZ.


“The principles on which Baidam Solutions is founded and built around are First Nations principles because we already have this innate understanding to protect our land and country,” Jack says.


“Now apply that to the cyber world and protecting Australia's data and digital resources.  Cyber is an evolving landscape. It will be here for a while and it'll always be evolving.”


Jack’s inspirational story is just one outlined in the podcast series hosted by Mundanara Bayles.


The series explores meaningful career opportunities within ANZ, building the capacity of First Nations businesses and organisations and supporting individuals in the broader community to achieve financial wellbeing and resilience.


While these stories are crucial and should be told by First Nations people, ANZ recognises it has a role and can help provide a platform – which is why we have sponsored the podcast series.


Jack’s story underscores how much we can learn as a community from entrepreneurs who share in the vast knowledge and experience of our First Nations communities.


While he has a great business and a growing family, the father of three boys – aged 5, 8 and 10 years old – he says the early days were a struggle.


“People don't see the heartache and the challenges. When my wife and I had kids, we were living paycheck to paycheck,” Jack says. “You would line-up at one of the grocery stores and go, ‘is this card going to go through?’.”


Yet he persevered. Jack was working as a business analyst for the Federal Government when the idea of Baidam emerged.


While Baidam now has 70 staff – including contractors – Jack recalls how the business started in the lobby of the Hilton in Brisbane with just two people. The entrepreneurial spirit came from his environment and his parents.


“I just think about the land where I'm from. If you can picture the bluest blue seas, on a backdrop that is a luscious green line of coconut trees and golden sand. That's a place that I get to call home.”


“Think about cyber security. Think about one of the world's oldest living cultures. We were the first threat hunters.”


“You apply storytelling and then put that into context of cyber education, it is a huge part of ‘don't click the link that looks suspicious’. If you click that, you'll give access to the hackers or the bad people trying to get what they want - data.”


We can always learn more by listening to stories such as Jack’s. Through listening and acting we can also use our resources to work with First Nation’s businesses to build a future.


We consulted Indigenous businesses from a range of industries, sizes and geographic locations to better understand the challenges and opportunities they face.


Based on this consultation, we worked with organisations such as Indigenous Business Australia, to co-design and implement our dedicated Indigenous Small Business Banking Services in 2023. This included appointing two Indigenous Business Banking Managers.


The service involves relationship management by Indigenous Business Banking Managers, recruited for their dedication to community and supporting Indigenous businesses.


We’ve also partnered with other customers including Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) to establish a guaranteed leasing facility which provides practical financial solutions to Indigenous businesses through ANZ, enabling them to lease assets so they can supply services to FMG. The program has allocated more than $99 million in funding to 17 First Nations businesses.


For a long time, the depth of knowledge First Nation’s people carry as a part of their culture was not recognised for its power in changing all parts of the community, including business.


While ANZ is taking steps to support these initiatives, we want to do more to enable First Nations businesses like Baidam Solutions to take even bigger strides.


Paul Presland is General Manager, Small to Medium Enterprise in Australia Commercial at ANZ


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