With NAIDOC Week currently underway and celebrating the history, culture and achievements of First Nations people in Australia, we asked Dean Foley, founder and CEO of indigenous accelerator program Barayamal, to share his take on entrepreneurship in the Indigenous community and highlights up and coming entrepreneurs.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait people have the oldest culture in the world and have had to innovate over thousands of years to live and thrive in one of the harshest continents.
Their innovative achievements include building the oldest aquaculture site in the world which farmed eels and fish to maintain extremely large areas of land through controlled burning called firestick farming.
However, after being locked out of Australia’s economy for 200 odd years and still facing discrimination (according to the Australian National University (ANU), three in every four Australians have a negative view about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) First Nations people are again starting to innovate and build business ventures to achieve their self-determination aspirations.
First Nations people have thrived and more recently survived against the odds, and with the support of the now very multicultural community in Australia, we have the opportunity to rebuild and thrive again which will create a better world for everyone – despite only accounting for 5% of the world’s population, Indigenous people protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity.
Now is the perfect time to support First Nations Entrepreneurship which is different to the traditional Western Entrepreneurship model.
Here are 9 Indigenous entrepreneurs to watch
Niyoka Bundle, founder at Pawa Catering
Niyoka is passionate about amplifying knowledge and awareness of native foods and increasing foundational Aboriginal participation in the native food industry, as self determined sovereign custodians.
Pawa means ‘to cook’ in Gundijtmara language from the South West coast of Victoria and her business provides Indigenous fusion foods for events and functions.
Her mother is from the Gundijtmara people in Warrnambool, Victoria and father is from the Yuin people of Bega, New South Wales.
Sara Stuart, CEO at Currency Print (CPCC)
Sara is a proud Kamilaroi woman and staunch supporter of empowering young Aboriginal women to pursue their goals, despite the adversity and challenges they face.
Sara has successfully run her own health and fitness businesses, worked extensively in the recruitment sector, and supported several Aboriginal employment programs, including the federal government’s Vocational Training and Employment Centres (VTEC) program.
Ruby Heard, Director at Alinga Energy Consulting
Jesse Martin, CEO at The Streets Movement
Jesse is a Eora man who now lives in Sydney, and is the founder of the Streets Movement Organisation which is a community development organisation which provides programs, pathways and opportunities for youth.
He strives for social change by fighting for a hand up instead of a hand out.
James Fewre, Project Engineer & Part-Time Day Trader
Nola Turner-Jensen, CEO at Crackerjack Education
Kayla Cartledge, founder & CEO at Our Songlines
Kayla is a proud Gurrindji woman who grew up on Bunurong land on the Mornington Peninsula who launched “Our Songlines”, which is a platform that connects people to First Nations culture and focuses on being able to tell a true account of Australian history. Through this educational platform, Indigenous and non-Indigenous people will be able to connect to culture.