IndigiSpace’s Greg Hodgkins (centre) with Donna Ingram and Joanne Cassady.
Early-stage investment firm Investible has gifted its founder and startup accelerator program to two Indigenous-focused business development providers, Indigispace and The Cultural Intelligence Project, training them up to independently deliver the programs to Aboriginal founders
On the east coast, IndigiSpace founder Greg Hodgkinson is program coordinator, supported by trainer Brendan Bishop of Indigenous Business Builders in Mackay. Its first program recently kicked off with 15 Indigenous founders.
Cara and Adele Peek of The Cultural Intelligence Project do the same across northern and western Australia.
Investible has partnered with Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) for several years to train entrepreneurs and Hodgkinson was part of the first IBA national accelerator cohort, and Bishop, the third.
“Indigenous entrepreneurs face some challenges not experienced by many mainstream businesses and remain underrepresented as business owners within the startup community,” Hodgkinson said.
“A strong sense of family and community is in our DNA – we’re wired for impact. For those with the capacity to build something great, the opportunity to give back to our community is just as important as succeeding as a business owner.”
Peek, The Cultural Intelligence Project’s Head of Innovation said an Indigenous-lead incubator is crucial to success for Indigenous entrepreneurs particularly in Northern and Western Australia.
“We do not have time to waste. We are being proactive and creating a safe space for Indigenous people to be bold and innovative in a culturally intelligent way,” she said.
Investible’s head of global programs and partners Elisa-Marie Dumas, said the investment firm recognised that passing on their knowledge to let Indigenous people take the lead was the best way forward.
“There are thousands of business consultants and development experts out there who we can train to execute our programs, but these are proven Indigenous entrepreneurs who understand the highs and lows of building a startup as well as the unique perspective that Indigenous founders bring to the ecosystem,” she said.
“The Indigenous community is Australia’s original group of entrepreneurs. And its long past time to give them the resources, support and mentorship they need to thrive.”