Indigenous-led First Australians Capital banks $20 million for its impact fund

- June 25, 2024 2 MIN READ
First Australians Capital managing partner Brian Wyborn, chair Leah Armstrong, head of legal Jane Pound & advisor Benson Saulo
First Australians Capital (FAC) has garnered $20 million in commitments for the first close of its Catalytic Impact Funds.

Managing Partner Brian Wyborn said said the investors included long-standing cornerstone supporter Paul Ramsay Foundation, an anonymous Melbourne-based trust, and the Cages Foundation.

“We’re thrilled to announce the first close of this fund, bringing together values-aligned investors and change-makers committed to accelerating positive change and empowering Indigenous businesses and communities across Australia,” he said.

“This fund connects investment markets with the Indigenous economy, offering accessible, patient debt finance to support Indigenous businesses and address racial inequity in Australia’s finance sector.”

The VISA Foundation committed $2 million to the fund earlier this year, along with $3 million from payments fintech Block via Square.

The Catalytic Impact Funds has also received support from several Australian foundations and family offices, including The Snow Foundation, Wyatt Trust, Tripple, Salt Catalyst, Small Giants and the AMP Foundation.

The QBE Foundation also gave FAC $500,000 to provide Seed funding for Indigenous startups.

Last week the Queensland government announced $1.5 million over two years for the First Australians Capital Business Acceleration Program to support Indigenous people in Queensland.  It includes $1 million in loans and grants  worth up to $100,000 for early-stage/seed investment for ATSI-led startups.

The Indigenous-led investor and entrepreneur advisory service has collaborated with more than 800 Indigenous businesses and leveraged more than $80 million in capital to scale them since it launched in 2016.

Last financial year it supported 282, spanning construction, arts and recreation, retail and professional services, with nearly a third (31%) run by women, while more than half (52%) were in 52% were in regional and rural locations.,

FAC has run a $13 million concept fund since 2021 and has deployed $11.4 million by March 2024. The organisation hope to contribute to the Indigenous business sector tripling in size and seeking $1 billion in mainstream capital leveraged for investment in Indigenous businesses and communities by 2031.

The Catalytic Impact Fund connects investment markets with the Indigenous economy, offering accessible, patient debt finance to support Indigenous businesses.

Snow Foundation CEO Georgina Byron said FAC’s ambitions align with their own.

“First Australian Capital’s commitment to backing Indigenous-led organisations and providing mentorship addresses systemic barriers, empowering a resilient First Nations business community,” she said

“Our investment in FAC aims to foster self-determination, economic independence and a more inclusive, caring and prosperous future for Indigenous Australians.”

The Fund Investment Committee is chaired by Indigenous business and community leader Jahna Cedar, alongside corporate leaders Tim Barber and Dan Porter and FAC representatives.

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