27 November 2023

First Nations food businesses to reap the benefits of university's entrepreneurs program

| Jarryd Rowley
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Two men and a woman in front of bushes

Owner of native gin business Wandering Emu, Sam Kirby (left) and One Honey Australia owner Fiona Rudkin were two of the participants who took part in the four-day workshop led by Charles Sturt Innovation Hub manager Ged Bourke (right). Photo: Supplied.

First Nations entrepreneurs have recently completed a four-day workshop to learn how to expand and promote their food businesses at Charles Sturt University (CSU).

The CSU and Food Futures hosted the ‘Indigenous Scale Up Program’, which was the second of its kind to be run this year and focused on providing participants with ways to help develop their small businesses.

The program’s food production and technology-based business ideas cover many product areas, such as skincare, beverage, beauty, health, wellness and medical offerings.

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Co-owner of the Junee-based Yield LOT 7, Jackie Price was a participant in the first iteration of the program earlier this year and encouraged other First Nations people to participate.

“I had a business before that got too big for me,” she said.

“I thought this program would give me some useful tips on planning and growth. As a First Nations person, we are always walking in two worlds.

“Understanding there is a different way to do business is always a step in the right direction for our people, their food sovereignty and the future of our people in general.”

Manager of the Charles Sturt Innovation Hub Mr Ged Bourke said this month’s program was building upon the success of the first Indigenous Entrepreneur Program held in May this year.

“The second iteration is dedicated to offering culturally sensitive and pertinent scale-up strategies tailored for First Nations businesses with established products or advanced prototypes,” he said.

“Its primary objectives include optimising market entry strategies, refining business models, and enhancing promotion and communication to reach a broader audience.

“Additionally, it serves as a catalyst for identifying prospects for continued collaboration with Charles Sturt, especially in cutting-edge research domains.”

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Participants are required to attend fortnightly online group sessions and masterclasses and fortnightly personal sessions while having access to a network of mentors, experts and service providers.

The program focuses on seven primary objectives, including business model refinement, enhancing impact communication and forming efficient teams.

The program runs from October 2023 to February 2024.

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