A new Indigenous impact fund has raised $15 million to back First Nations founders

- July 7, 2023 2 MIN READ
First Australians Capital Brian Wyborn
First Australians Capital managing partner Brian Wyborn
A new impact fund for Indigenous startups has raised $15 million, taking it halfway to a $30 million target to back Aboriginal and TSI entrepreneurs.

First Australians Capital (FAC), is an Indigenous-led organisation focused on business advisory services coupled with a social impact fund for Indigenous businesses.

Since 2016, FAC has supported more than 700 Indigenous businesses and leveraged $68 million in cumulative funding for them. In FY2022, the organisation delivered more than 8,000 hours of support to more than 200 Indigenous businesses, with 45% female-led and 42% in regional and rural locations. They companies involved span construction, the arts and recreation, retail and professional services.

Backers of FAC include AMP Foundation, the Paul Ramsay Foundation and the William Buckland Foundation. The new “catalytic impact fund” has been backed by long-term supporter the CAGES Foundation.

FAC has been operating a $13 million concept fund since 2021 and deployed $8.1 million by the end of May across 48 finance facilities.

Brian Wyborn, a former senior wealth advisor at JBWere, and proud Torres Strait Islander and PNG man, has been appointed FAC’s managing partner. He is based in Meanjin (Brisbane), and has more than a decade of investment, portfolio and strategic advisory experience.

“It is an exciting time to be joining First Australians Capital as we scale our fund and impact for Indigenous businesses. Our Catalytic Capital Impact Fund is just one example of the enthusiasm and drive the team and our investors have in supporting Indigenous-led businesses and entrepreneurs,” he said.

“Having worked with Indigenous communities and organisations for the last decade, I have seen first-hand the impact that strong financial advice and support can have on an organisation and its entire community.

Wyborn paid tribute to First Australians Capital’s founders, Leah Armstrong, Adrian Appo, Jocelyn King and Jane Pound, “for their incredible work” to build the organisation and two decades of supporting Indigenous businesses and communities.

“I have very big shoes to fill and am excited to begin working with the team to continue bringing innovative Indigenous-led businesses to market in financially sustainable ways,” he said.

ECAGES Foundation executive director Gemma Salteri said FAC is unlocking capital for Indigenous businesses in ways that support them, align with their values, and propel them forward.

“We are proud to be contributing to their next fund which will see dozens more Indigenous businesses empowered to bring their businesses to life and contribute to their own independence and self-determination as well as the Australian economy as a whole,” she said.

FAC’s 10-year strategy is to make the organisation catalyst for radical change in investment markets. By 2031, FAC aims to contribute to the Indigenous business sector tripling in size and seeing $1 billion in mainstream capital leveraged for investment in Indigenous businesses and communities.