Land of opportunity
Indigenous businesses are creating opportunities well beyond food and tourism. Anne-Marie Elias, chief disruptor, shines the light on Indigenous businesses that are creating new opportunities for inclusion in the digital and start-up environment.
Closing the gap on digital literacy is digital technology company Indigital founded by Mikaela Jade, a Cabrogal woman from Sydney. Indigital is bridging ancient cultures and the digital economy. Based in Kakadu, it brings new technologies like AR and VR to rural, regional and remote communities, empowering Indigenous communities to share their ancient culture with the world and creating economic opportunities for them.
One organisation aiming to build on the strengths and assets of Australia’s first peoples is First Australians Capital, a company founded by Jocelyn King in order to reduce poverty and disadvantage. By supporting the prosperity and growth of Indigenous business, it is confident it can help entrepreneurs to create viable and scalable business that will ‘close the gap’ for Indigenous communities. First Australian Capital provides the necessary scaffolding to help businesses start, grow and thrive. It does this by providing access to mentors, capital and skilled staff to build business.
In 2014 ‘The Forrest Review’ found that “Indigenous job creation through Indigenous economic development is far more successful, and sustainable, than job creation alone… Indigenous businesses are 100 times more likely to employ Indigenous people.”
Start-up accelerator Barayamal (barayamal.com.au) is a culturally appropriate business accelerator program for Indigenous entrepreneurs, with effective support, at each stage of a business, from concept development to standalone businesses. It was founded by Dean Foley a Kamileroi man who grew up in Gunnedah, who was inspired to support Indigenous entrepreneurship as a way of reducing unemployment and social disadvantage. Barayamal means ‘Black Swan’ in Kamilaroi language. Before 1697 Europeans had only ever seen white swans, so the black swan represents Indigenous entrepreneurs who have not been noticed for their innovative and successful businesses. Barayamal is a grass-roots initiative that is 100% Indigenous owned and managed, it believes that by empowering Indigenous entrepreneurs Barayamal could help close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage in Australia.