Queensland’s First Nations businesses are being encouraged to connect and explore opportunities during Indigenous Business Month in October.
Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer said a range of statewide events mark the eighth Indigenous Business Month with this year’s theme of “Actions Today. Impact Tomorrow”.
“Owning a business and securing employment provides a strong foundation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, families and individuals, so it’s important we continue to support First Nations businesses to grow,” Minister Farmer said.
“The next decade will provide many amazing opportunities for First Nations businesses to scale up as we prepare for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and I encourage business owners to start thinking about these opportunities now.”
Minister Farmer said more than 40 events were being held across Queensland during October.
“These activities will include ‘meet the buyer/seller’ networking events in Central Queensland, mentoring and capability building sessions in Central and North Queensland, and Indigenous Business Connect networking events in the South East corner that focus on procurement and supply chain opportunities,” Minister Farmer said.
“I encourage First Nations business to check out the events happening in their area, make connections and collaborate so that they can identify opportunities for growth and innovation.”
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Minister Craig Crawford said the Palaszczuk Government recognises the huge potential for growth, particularly in the First Nations tourism sector, in the lead up to the Brisbane 2032 Olympics and Paralympics.
“Across government, we are working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and businesses to increase the number of First Nations businesses that are creating jobs, opening up new business opportunities, and developing a stronger economy,” Minister Crawford said.
“The Palaszczuk Government is actively working to increase the value of Queensland Government procurement awarded to First Nations businesses.
“For example, in the 2022-23 State Budget, we committed another $4 million to a First Nations Tourism Package to grow the number of tourism experiences over the next ten years.
“We want Indigenous Queenslanders to enjoy good, independent jobs, better services and our great lifestyle.”
Minister Farmer said that supporting the growth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned businesses and creating pathways to inspire the next generation of First Nations business leaders is a priority.
“Last month (September), I launched Paving the Way – First Nations Training Strategy, which will support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to train and reskill,” Minister Farmer said.
“The new $8.3 million strategy includes funding for Indigenous-led training and workforce solutions, skills and training pathway opportunities, support to meet local workforce needs and building cultural awareness skills and competency in local workplaces.
“We know Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned businesses reinvest in their communities and employ more than 30 times the proportion of First Nations people than other businesses.
“This plan will help ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned businesses have access to an increasing pool of trained and skilled First Nations workers.
“We are also working with former members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Business and Innovation Reference Group and government officers on a new state-wide Indigenous Business Representative Body.”
Minister Farmer reminded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business owners to explore the range of support available to small businesses.
“Already we have seen 91 First Nations businesses share in funding of more than $546,000 to grow their businesses, under the Big Plans for Small Business Strategy launched in 2021,” Minister Farmer said.
“Another 40 First Nations businesses have received more than $460,000 to employ staff through the Back to Work program since November last year.
“In addition to financial support, we are engaging more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mentors to help First Nations business owners through our free successful Mentoring for Growth program, which provides insights and options relating to business challenges and opportunities.
“We will continue to encourage and back our First Nations small businesses to grow and succeed because growth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned businesses is good news for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander job-seekers, communities and the Queensland economy.”
To find an Indigenous Business Month event in your local area visit: https://www.business.qld.gov.au/running-business/support-assistance/events