Kara Ged owners empower women and Indigenous groups
Florence Drummond and Judy Zhu only met two years ago but the two powerhouses have already kicked many business goals. Full of energy and on a mission to not only make their WA-born modular homes and drone business a success, the business partners are also passionate about being role models for women and Indigenous people.
Drummond, who has 10 years’ experience in the mining sector and is the co-founder of Indigenous Women in Mining and Resources Australia (iWIMRA), says the pair instantly bonded over shared goals and ideals, forming Kara Ged – which means ‘my home’ in Drummond’s grandfather’s language, Meriam Mir – last year.
Kara Ged supplies prefabricated housing units produced in China. It has also partnered with drone technology company, DJI, to offer surveying, mapping and data collection services to the mining, construction, agriculture and emergency services industries.
“We started with the modular units with the idea of creating solutions for safer worker camps,” Drummond says.
“This was also on the back of the reports around sexual harassment in mining. It became a reality that women had to be more involved in decision making and even around the infrastructure of what safety looks like for us in mining.
“And then the drones and technologies just grew as well. It started with land and rehab conversations then moved around surveying, mapping and many things that were beyond our very initial conversations.
"For me, from being a machine operator 10 years ago in the bush in Weipa, Queensland, to now sitting at very influential tables speaking about business, speaking about industry and policy … I think the journey itself really shows and hopefully helps other women as well to know that this is possible for them too.”
Growing the business
Drummond met Chinese-born Zhu in 2021 after CCIWA’s Head of International Trade and Investment Centre Michael Carter suggested the two could be perfect business partners. Zhu has been a CCIWA Member since 2019 with her Australian Star Holdings Group, which helps foster trade between China and Australia across a wide range of industries. The company recently sponsored CCIWA’s Construction Industry Dinner which saw about 500 people celebrate at Crown Towers Perth.
“CCIWA has been very helpful in the past few years to my business and Kara Ged,” Zhu says.
“Not only introducing us through the different networking opportunities, but CCIWA also gives us very good business advice depending on which stage of development we are in.
“CCIWA also helps us through difficult times, offering solutions and finding the right people to help us grow our business.”
Zhu says the WA Investments website launched this year by CCIWA and the WA Government has been very valuable.
“WA Investments launched very successfully and in terms of sourcing, I heard other companies are also benefitting from that website as well,” Zhu says.
“So, this is another very useful tool that CCIWA implemented for their members.”
Drummond says she initially joined CCIWA for its business opportunities and networking, as well as its Aboriginal Business Directory WA.
“Understanding the business network is important, you know, understanding who's doing what and at what stages, and what's important as well from a policy perspective. I think all of those things come into play,” she says.
“CCIWA provides that help and support and that understanding to ensure that we're business ready and we're fit for purpose as well as to connect with other businesses.
“The fact that we met at CCIWA really shows that this is an incubator space, a nurturing space for both growing and established businesses," Drummond says.
The Kara Ged owners proudly stand behind the “you can’t be what you can’t see” mantra, says Drummond. They are motivated to develop the business while balancing their corporate responsibilities with their personal lives. But, most importantly, they are passionate about contributing back to society.
“We really had to think about how we grow as a business and ensure our value proposition,” Drummond says.
“We are an Indigenous joint venture; we're led by women ... how do we also ensure that we showcase that strength? We are competitive but I think we are much more than that too.
“I'm very proud that we can at least be demonstrating what success could look like.”
Success on the horizon
Zhu says Kara Ged is close to signing its first contract.
“We have already achieved so many milestones,” she says.
“Recently we signed up with Roy Hill as a vendor and they introduced us to the Pilbara region and their association with Indigenous schools teaching kids about using the drones and the related coding.
“We have also achieved some research projects with Curtin University in the drone technology area and we are continuing to work with Curtin to develop some more training modules.”
The pair are keen to get Indigenous people involved in the construction of their modular homes and help foster further training and education opportunities.
“Our focus has always been ensuring that Indigenous people and women are part of this global innovation transition,” Drummond says.
“We want to ensure this demographic can access education, access technology, access the conversation that they belong there as well, and participating in the economy.
"I think, for us, that will be a huge tick of success.”
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