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Hopeful entrepreneurs from Indigenous communities across Australia now have greater access to leading entrepreneurial development education and support programs.

Investible has gifted its founder and startup accelerator program to two Indigenous-focused business development providers, Indigispace and The Cultural Intelligence Project and trained the businesses to coordinate and independently deliver the programs to Indigenous founders around the country.

IndigiSpace founder Greg Hodgkinson serves as program coordinator across the East Coast, supported by trainer Brendan Bishop of Indigenous Business Builders in Mackay. Its first program recently kicked off with 15 Indigenous founders.

Cara and Adele Peek of The Cultural Intelligence Project will coordinate and run programs across Northern & Western Australia.

For years, Investible has partnered with leading organsiations such as the City of Sydney, HUBBA Thailand, Coffs Harbour City Council and Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) to deliver, and train entrepreneurs to run, founder development and business accelerator programs. While the new Indigenous business development providers received additional training and support from Investible, some were already familiar with the methodology.

IndigiSpace founder Greg Hodgkinson (L), Brendan Bishop of Indigenous Business Builders (R)

Greg Hodgkinson participated in the first IBA national accelerator cohort and stayed on as a mentor while Brendan Bishop took part in the third cohort.

“Indigenous entrepreneurs face some challenges not experienced by many mainstream businesses and remain underrepresented as business owners within the startup community. By acknowledging and developing programs such as this we can begin to overcome many of these challenges,” said Hodgkinson.

It’s a sentiment echoed by Cara Peek, Head of Innovation at The Cultural Intelligence Project:

“An Indigenous-lead incubator is crucial to expediting the critical path to success for Indigenous entrepreneurs particularly in Northern and Western Australia. We do not have time to waste. We are being proactive and creating a safe space for Indigenous people to be bold and innovative in a culturally intelligent way.”

Adele (left) and Cara Peek (right), The Cultural Intelligence Project

Hodgkinson says running these programs will enable them to highlight and promote what makes Indigenous founders unique, including their commitment to building businesses with a positive social impact.

“A strong sense of family and community is in our DNA – we’re wired for impact. For those with the capacity to build something great, the opportunity to give back to our community is just as important as succeeding as a business owner.”

Investible’s entrepreneurial education program centres on its Business Model Blueprint framework, which guides participants through a validation process across 40 different elements of their business model. By sharing the program with Indigenous organisations, Investible hopes to empower the community and exponentially increase the number of founders who benefit from its entrepreneurial development programs.

“We recognise that we can best benefit Indigenous founders by embracing their values and passing along our knowledge so that they can take the lead,” says Elisa-Marie Dumas, Head of Global Programs and Partners at Investible.

“There are thousands of business consultants and development experts out there who we can train to execute our programs, but these are proven Indigenous entrepreneurs who understand the highs and lows of building a startup as well as the unique perspective that Indigenous founders bring to the ecosystem.”

“The Indigenous community is Australia’s original group of entrepreneurs. And its long past time to give them the resources, support and mentorship they need to thrive.”

IndigiSpace founder Greg Hodgkinson works with participant Aunty Marlene Cummins.

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