Innovative Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses looking to grow to the next level will soon have access to new opportunities and support through the Indigenous Innovation and Entrepreneurs Program (IIEP).
Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development Kate Jones said the IIEP builds on the success of previous programs such as Creating Tracks, which supported 160 Indigenous businesses during the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“Starting a business is tough. That’s why it’s important that we help to provide expert advice and a pathway for Indigenous businesses trying to get a foothold in Queensland,” she said.
“We saw through the Commonwealth Games how successful programs like this can be.
“That’s why we’re launching this program to support Indigenous entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and create jobs in Queensland.”
Today’s announcement comes after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk last month named 2020 the Year of Indigenous Tourism.
“Particularly in the tourism industry, we’re seeing a number of Indigenous tourism businesses emerging throughout the state, keen to scale-up and employ more locals,” Ms Jones said.
The program is open to Indigenous businesses, innovators or entrepreneurs across all industries, with an increased focus on the participation of Indigenous tourism operators.
Following initial workshops, eligible participants will be offered coaching and mentor sessions, and invited to participate in pitch events with councils, government agencies and industry bodies.
A previous Creating Tracks recipient, Jarramali Rock Art Tours owner operator Johnny Murison said support from the Palaszczuk Government to grow his business had been invaluable.
“Through Creating Tracks, I was able to further fine-tune my business plan and also identify my key target market,” Mr Murison said.
“As an entrepreneur, I knew I had a great experience to showcase that visitors to Cairns would love.
“Through the program, I was given direction that helped me to shape my marketing approach to this market and grow my business and develop an even stronger foundation.”
The IIEP will be available from early 2020. It is a jointly-funded initiative between the Queensland Government and TAFE Queensland.