The First Australians Capital Business Acceleration Program: Empowering Indigenous Entrepreneurs in Queensland

The First Australians Capital Business Acceleration Program: Empowering Indigenous Entrepreneurs in Queensland

The First Australians Capital Business Acceleration Program, a new $1.5 million initiative, aims to boost innovation and entrepreneurial opportunities for Indigenous people in Queensland. Delivered by First Australians Capital (FAC), an independent Indigenous-led fund manager and business advisory organisation, this program represents a significant step toward enhancing economic independence and growth for Indigenous communities. The First Australians Capital Business Acceleration Program: Empowering Indigenous Entrepreneurs in Queensland

Government Support and Objectives

The funding, provided over two years, is part of the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland Deadly Innovation Strategy. This strategy underscores the government’s commitment to fostering economic independence for Indigenous businesses and innovators. By empowering Indigenous entrepreneurs, the program seeks to drive economic growth within Indigenous communities and contribute positively to the broader state economy.

FAC’s Role and Vision

Brian Wyborn, a Torres Strait Islander, Papua New Guinea man, and First Australians Capital co-managing partner, expressed FAC’s enthusiasm about partnering with the Queensland Government in this initiative. “This program will help us provide resources and opportunities, bridging the economic gap and allowing Indigenous communities to thrive as well as contribute to the state’s economy,” Mr Wyborn said. He emphasized that the program will enable First Nations people to leverage their unique cultural knowledge and perspectives, fostering creative solutions and sustainable practices beneficial to all Queenslanders.

Achievements and Future Plans

To date, the initiative has supported more than 800 Indigenous entrepreneurs through 94 investments, leveraging $80 million in capital and creating 372 jobs. The First Australians Capital Business Acceleration Program will use a staged approach to help Indigenous businesses and innovators grow, offering a comprehensive framework and guidance for success.

Program Components

The program’s support includes several key components:

  1. Enterprise Loans and Grants: A $1 million fund available through early-stage seed investment for loans of up to $100,000 to Queensland Indigenous innovative businesses. These loans will enable entrepreneurs to pursue innovative ideas and projects, providing them with the necessary resources to take calculated risks and drive growth.
  2. Business Strategic Advisory Services: A targeted fund to cover costs of essential business strategic advisory services. This service will offer a dedicated project leader to support Indigenous founders and companies in areas such as fundamental business skills, legal, finance, marketing, mentoring, and grant and tender writing.
  3. Leveraged Pathways: Customized assistance for Indigenous businesses in navigating grants and procurement opportunities, elevating their competitiveness in accessing available funding.

Minister for Science and Innovation, Leanne Linard, highlighted the government’s dedication to fostering economic independence, self-determination, cultural preservation, and social equity for Indigenous Queenslanders, particularly in innovation and entrepreneurship. “That’s why in 2019 we introduced our Advance Queensland Deadly Innovation Strategy to create more pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through participation in the innovation economy,” Ms. Linard said.

She further emphasized the need for a capital pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander innovative businesses to provide access to support, funding, and commercial viability and growth. “The First Australians Capital Business Acceleration Program will provide this, as well as helping address historical injustices and creating a more inclusive and diverse economic landscape, which remains essential for Queensland’s ongoing development.”

Launch and Impact

The First Australians Capital Business Acceleration Program is set to launch in August 2024. With its comprehensive support structure and dedicated funding, the program is poised to significantly impact Indigenous entrepreneurship in Queensland, promoting sustainable economic growth and fostering innovation within Indigenous communities.

This initiative marks a pivotal moment in advancing the economic prospects and self-determination of Indigenous Australians, paving the way for a more inclusive and prosperous future for all.

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