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How can I get support for a First Nations business?

This section provides information about business support and programs available for First Nations businesses.

It includes government agencies, networks and commercial entities established, including business accelerators, to assist and support First Nations businesses.

Click below to find relevant support for First Nations businesses in each jurisdiction.

 

There are a number of government agencies and networks established to assist and support First Nations businesses in Australia. They include:

AusIndustry

AusIndustry provides support for First Nations businesses to access market opportunities, connections and networks across the economy with the aim of improving economic opportunities for First Nations people and communities. It connects small and medium size business and government, nurtures partnerships and networks, and helps businesses navigate local, state and federal government.

Austrade

Austrade supports First Nations businesses to export goods or services through its export programs globally. It also has Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) to help businesses promote goods and services globally.

Gandaywarra: First Nations Innovation Hub

The Australian National University’s Gandaywarra: First Nations Innovation Hub aims to 'build and activate a pipeline of strong, long-term partnerships and capabilities which will enable First Nations communities, ANU, industry, philanthropy, government, and end-users to collaborate and innovate’. It offers business and commercial development support, including relationship management and brokering, funding applications, and partnership agreements, project facilitation and ongoing management, and funding to support ideation, engagement and collaboration projects contributing to First Nations economic self-determination outcomes.

Indigenous Business and Employment Hubs

Indigenous Business and Employment Hubs are for First Nations people wanting to start, sustain or grow a business. They provide business advice and support at no cost, including mentorship, business advice, training and seminars, access to financial services, tendering assistance, and access to office space. The Hubs are currently located in -

Indigenous Business Australia

Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) is a government organisation providing home loans and business finance to First Nations peoples. It runs Business Essentials workshops to assist in the design of a business and a team to assist.

It has a Start-Up Finance Package designed to help small to medium sized start-up businesses that have been trading for less than two years, which includes up to 30% of a new business loan (up to $150,000) awarded as a grant. IBA also offers:

  • Business Loan Packages designed to assist businesses with working capital requirements, purchase of existing businesses, plant and equipment, and other commercial assets.
  • Performance Bonds where IBA may able to either issue a bond directly to a beneficiary, or provide funds to a bank to issue a bank guarantee on your behalf, if you are successful with a tender and the beneficiary requires you to provide a bank guarantee or bond for 5% or more of the value of the contract.
  • Invoice Finance providing businesses with revolving cash flow based on the value of credit sales or major contracts to assist Indigenous-owned businesses to take advantage of new contract or sales opportunities that may otherwise be out of reach.
  • Direct Investments where IBA invests alongside Indigenous organisations in operating businesses in a range of sectors. These investments generate financial returns, as well as employment, training and supply chain benefits for Indigenous Australians.
  • Asset and funds management including IBA's Indigenous Prosperity Funds, Indigenous Real Estate Investment Trust and Specialised Property Investments.
  • Banking partnerships with like-minded banks to help First Nations customers transition to and access the benefits of mainstream finance. 
  • IBA Home Loans for First Nations wanting to fund essential repairs or improvements to an existing home, or to refinance an existing loan, or to purchase an established residential property, upgrade that property, or purchase land and construct a new home.
  • Remote Indigenous Home Loans to improve opportunities for home ownership in remote areas, particularly communities, via financial assistance and grants.

 

 

 


Business Accelerator Programs

A business accelerator is generally a three-to-six-month program designed to help new businesses (startups) scale or grow and develop quickly, with those businesses often provided funding in exchange for equity in the business. 

During the accelerator program, startups can receive access to capital, mentorship, resources and networking opportunities from experienced entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders.

Many accelerators work with or are founded by angel investors or venture capital firms. This can provide a ready-made network for startups to tap into even after the accelerator program has ended.

Business Accelerator Programs available for First Nations in Australia include, but are not limited to:

Barayamal

Barayamal is a First Nations charity running a First Nations Entrepreneurship program 'providing a framework and a ‘new’ generation of entrepreneurs who prioritise community over profit, which is different to the traditional Western Entrepreneurship Model which prioritises the individual/shareholders over the greater community’. 

Dream Venture Masterclasses

The Minderoo Foundation’s Dream Venture Masterclasses equip 'First Nations Australians with the connections, capabilities and access to capital to become investor-ready’. The Masterclasses are free and are delivered online by the Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship and finish with finalists in 2023 pitching for a share of $200,000 in seed funding. 

EnergyNext accelerator

The EnergyNext accelerator program is for energy startups that 'challenge the status quo, show passion about their innovation/technology, are looking to grow, need to raise capital/partner with corporates to build, and want to test and validate their hypothesis’. It offers $25,000 and $300,000 in-kind for the team who come into the program's Final Cohort. In return they ask for 6% equity.

First Nations Innovation Accelerator

Make it Happen HQ initiated the First Nations Innovation Accelerator program 'to accelerate First Nation Australian wealth and well-being’. It is tailored specifically for First Nations individuals and businesses - from entrepreneurs with a fresh idea to established First Nations businesses looking to scale up - and offers ongoing development, support, mentoring, and the necessary tools to nurture ideas and grow businesses into successful enterprises.

iAccelerate

The University of Wollongong’s iAccelerate programs for business ideas, start-ups and scale-ups 'supports all growth stages of your business with our pre-accelerator, accelerator, incubator programs and support facilities’. It has a three month pre-accelerator program providing mentorship, resources, tools and knowledge to validate an idea for a business, and an incubation program for business start-ups wanting to grow which offers 'expert guidance, networking opportunities, and access to investors to fuel your expansion and achieve sustainable growth’. It has $10 million in seed funding.

MURRA Indigenous Business Program

The University of Melbourne’s MURRA Indigenous Business Program is a subsidised residential program for First Nations entrepreneurs and managers from across Australia 'who are joined by a common purpose to develop business opportunities for the benefit of their communities’. It is for First Nations small business owners, entrepreneurs or professionals wanting to develop their business knowledge and confidence, and for First Nations managers from corporations, government, not-for-profit, prescribed bodies corporate, land councils and other traditional owner entities. The program aims to grow and consolidate a business, organisation and career through understanding key areas that are vital to success: strategy, finance, marketing, people and talent, negotiations and leadership.

The Difference Incubator

Indigenous Business Australia has partnered with The Difference Incubator to deliver an Accelerator Program tailored to First Nations entrepreneurs. The program works in partnership with entrepreneurs and local communities who want to 'use their entrepreneurial talents, power, and voice to create alternatives’, focusing on building 'capability, confidence and self-belief in individuals and organisations wanting to create an economy worthy of the human spirit’.

 

 

In NSW, assistance and support to First Nations businesses is provided through, but not limited to:

 

 

In the NT, assistance and support to First Nations businesses is provided through, but not limited to:

 

 

In South Australia, assistance and support to First Nations businesses is provided through, but not limited to:

 

 

In Western Australia, assistance and support to First Nations businesses is provided through, but not limited to: