Nicole Stewart

CEO – GerrbikComplete Workwear Laundry Services Pty Ltd

Based in Tullamarine, Melbourne, Gerrbik has a broad client base and provides laundry and dry cleaning services to some of the world’s major airlines, universities, government departments, and manufacturing facilities. Currently, the airline industry makes up 85 percent of their clients and they are looking to diversify into the food and beverage industry.

In 2015, Nicole purchased the business from her father Robert Stewart. The business was founded by Robert in 1979. Immediately prior to founding Gerrbik, Robert worked for a business that serviced and delivered to the meatworks. Robert identified an opportunity to create a business that responded to the need meatworks and catering companies had to have their uniforms professionally cleaned.

Each of Robert’s three daughters were involved in the business and had exposure to the operation of the business and industry from a young age. Prior to purchasing the business, Nicole worked in it for a number of years.

As the owner and CEO, Nicole is heavily involved in the day to day running and is dedicated to giving opportunities to groups of people who have been disadvantaged and who seek an opportunity to gain meaningful employment.

Gerrbik means ‘family’ in the Taungurung language. The business which was formally known as Complete Workwear Laundry Services is Australia’s first and only Aboriginal owned commercial laundry service. Gerrbik employs approximately 40 staff, with the majority being female employees coming from diverse backgrounds.

Collaborating in the Indigenous business sector

Generating economic opportunities for Indigenous Australians is recognized as a vital pathway for Indigenous self-determination. Yet, generating these opportunities is often complex due to structural impediments pressuring Indigenous Australians. Collaborating across complex systems with other Indigenous businesses and community organizations can help navigate these challenges. Learn from experts in this space about the challenges, opportunities and best practices for successful collaboration.