Colin Finlay, Earth Moving

Toowoomba QLD | June 2019

What is your business? How long has the business been operating?
I have started a small earth moving company with my partner Libby. We are just starting out.

What were you doing before you made contact with Many Rivers? What was your previous work experience?
I am an Indigenous man from South West Qld, Gunggari people. I have spent 19 years in construction working for other people.

When I was 12 years old I smashed my knee in a motor bike crash and spent 10 months in hospital. I left school before finishing Year 10 and worked on cattle stations for years and did many jobs. I am really proud to get to get where I am from that background. I have worked hard and made some good choices that hopefully will see me reach my goals.

Who referred you to Many Rivers? When?
It was at Black Coffee, the Indigenous Business networking group – that we met Jamie, in May 2019. We had not heard about Many Rivers before. Jamie introduced himself and Many Rivers to the group. We had been fumbling around looking for ideas to get started. We saw Black Coffee on Facebook and Libby posted a question about what happens when you attend, what we should bring etc. Jamie has  been a god send. He is Fantastic. A Dedicated man. A Nice man.

Why did you want to go into business?
I had always wanted to work for myself. My partner Libby is a big support and the brains behind me. Libby does BD and admin work. I had been thinking about it for a long time – 10 years ago. Circumstances made it challenging. Needed the support in the back office – books etc. Libby has helped make it happen I always thought that I have experience and potential to make good money. I want to show my people I can do this as well as anyone.

What services did you receive from Many Rivers? How did it help?
Jamie talked to Libby initially about setting up back office, book keeping. He has helped do capacity statements, cash flow management. Jamie finds out things even when he does not know the answer. He supports our dreams and aspirations. He follows up, gets info, supports us. So much support. He is a warm human being.

What did you find the most useful about the assistance from Many Rivers?
Everything has been useful. Every idea and suggestion has been put into place and has worked and is working. The capacity statement help has been great. There are some good opportunities for civil works jobs in the region and we have been approached about them. Jamie helped format our capacity statement to look good for big jobs. Col is the only indigenous earthworks in region, lots of interest and he has 19 years’ experience. Jamie has been holding our hand along the way as we prepare for the big opportunities.

Did you get a loan from MR? How did you use the loan?
No.

Do you have any current employees? If so, how many employees? Are they full time or part-time?
Just Col and Libby. Hope to employ young indigenous people, with struggles. Helping young people with a traineeship would be great.

What has been the biggest challenge to date?
Finding jobs. There are lots of opportunities to get big contracts just need to wait until they come up. Waiting for big jobs is hard.  It is a very quiet time in construction in the region. Whilst Col waits for the jobs he subs out to fill gaps between contracts working other people’s gear. We believe challenges are opportunities.

What has been the biggest success to date?
Seeing Col incredibly happy in his own skin. Not stressing. Its not just about making money. We are going into business to make us happy. Success is inner peace. Independence is important. Col is an indigenous man and this is giving him a sense of pride and achievement.

What has been the biggest change for you/your family since you started your business?
We are a lot happier now. We are happy people but even happier now. It’s not about millions of dollars and we have a great relationship and where we have a dream about where we want to take this business. That is what we are holding on. Col’s reputation has increased, and his success surprises and motivates other indigenous people. He is a role model.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?
Purchase a few machines and a few men working for us. Buy a block of land and build own house. Just be more comfortable and happy.