Kickstarting Indigenous Businesses to Achieve Success

7th November 2018 , Maggie Coggan

A new partnership between an Indigenous business program and a not-for-profit incubator aims not only to help Indigenous entrepreneurs take their business ideas to the next level, but to help them make a social difference as well.

The six month program, run through a partnership between Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) and The Difference Incubator (TDi), combines formal training, practical skills, and mentorships to kickstart Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led businesses.

IBA CEO Rajiv Viswanathan told Pro Bono News that IBA’s partnership with TDi would further the impact of its program.

“We partnered with TDi to deliver the 2019 program in order to build better businesses that are sustainable and have a positive social or environmental impact,” Viswanathan said.

Former program participant Bronwyn Cochrane said without the program, she wouldn’t have had the confidence to pursue her business TIPIAC – an online Indigenous educational resource for teachers to use in schools across Australia – as she didn’t come from a business background.

“It gave me the tools and the resources that I needed to set up a strong foundation that made my business strong for the future,” Cochrane told Pro Bono News.

She said the program was a good way of creating strong Indigenous role models in remote and isolated communities, inspiring future generations.

“We’re the ones making changes in those communities, and bringing money back into the community. It’s so important, because other community members and kids are able to look up to us, and be shown that there is another option for them to succeed,” she said.

As well as learning practical skills for running a business, the program also helped her form vital connections with other Indigenous business owners, to call on for help if need be.

“Running a business in an Indigenous community is different to a normal situation… a lot of the time, it’s not just your husband or kids you’re looking after, it’s the whole community,” she said.

“Having those networks is absolutely vital, especially when we are down and we’re doubting ourselves in business.”

Cochrane encouraged anyone, even if they had just an idea at this point, to apply for the program.

“I look at the people who came in with just an idea, and they’re now moving forward so much faster than what they would have without the program,” she said.

Applications for the accelerator program are now open, and close at the end of November.

Read the artice on Probono Australia here