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Indigenous Business Month 2016

Its been a busy month so far. Since coming back from the UK I’ve dived straight back into work. I had to push through one week with a head cold and hayfever, juggling the kids on school holidays and multiple work projects. I wanted to hide from the world, and I actually did spend one afternoon sprawled across the lounge because I was so fatigued. But when you’re self-employed you cant really stop, you have to push on. This aside, I’ve felt there has been a real buzz making waves in the sector because of Indigenous Business Month.

This is the second year of Indigenous Business Month, and as an Indigenous Business owner it’s an opportunity to celebrate your achievements in business, but also the achievements of the rich and diverse Indigenous business sector. This year the theme has focused on leadership and excellence in Indigenous business. I’ve been enthusiastic about the conversation happening online all month. There have been some great articles in the media, posts on facebook and tweets, look out for the hashtag #Indigbizmonth

If you’ve never heard of Indigenous Business Month, you’re so missing out, it is an initiative of Murra Indigenous Business Masterclass Alumni, to showcase and promote the variety of Indigenous businesses nationally and provide an Indigenous business voice. I’m very fortunate to have undertaken the Murra Indigenous Business Masterclass at Melbourne Business School earlier this year, and can only speak so highly of the leading Indigenous business professionals I have met who have undertaken the program as well. There are a number of events happening this month, so you should definitely check out the website

On Friday 14 October, I was invited to be a speaker at the 2016 Indigenous Business Month UNSW Business School Community Forum. The Community Forum had a focus on exploring the opportunities and challenges across the Indigenous Business Sector. The forum featured two Indigenous business panels and a yarning circle. I was joined by two amazing business leaders Mayrah Sonter, 33 Creative and Carol Vale, Murawin on an all-female panel. There was also an all-male panel which included George Brown, Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council, Liam Harte, Integrity Health and Safety and Owen Walsh, UNSW Business School.

Big thanks to Rebecca Harcourt; who works tirelessly to support Indigenous business students at UNSW and advocate for our sector, on her leadership and organisation of the event. It was an inspiring experience to share the floor with a diverse group of Indigenous business leaders. It was a personal reminder of how far I have come and achieved. It was especially great reuniting with Mayrah and Carol, whom I first worked with back at the Aboriginal Education and Training Directorate, NSW DET. Look at where we are now. What a journey.

One of my highlight’s was listening to George Brown. George worked with me at Supply Nation a couple of years ago. I felt a great sense of pride watching him confidently talk about his journey and his return to his community of Wreck Bay. He has grown incredibly in the last couple of years, and I expect more to come. My other highlight was the yarning circles, which provided an opportunity for smaller conversations at tables. I led a discussion on the Indigenous Procurement Policy, and it was interesting how many people actually didnt have any knowledge of the policy. Creating more awareness about it was a positive outcome for me.

Later after the Community Forum I was invited to stay and attend UNSW’s Indigenous Student Awards evening. What a truly inspiring night. To share in the success of so many talented Indigenous students winning academic achievement and spirit awards across a whole range of fields from medicine to business. A young man named Benjamin Eisikovich spoke as a guest speaker about his journey growing up as the only Aboriginal kid in his school and being raised by a single mother. A lot of his story resonated with me because of the parallels. He is definitely someone to look out for in the future. I wish him all the success. All of award winners are our next generation of leaders in our communities, and I felt in awe to be in their presence.

I’m loving Indigenous Business Month. Keep spreading the word #Indigbizmonth