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Indigenous-Led Innovation: Collaborative Initiatives Driving Progress

In honor of Indigenous Business Month, we celebrate the theme, ‘To Gather, Together,’ highlighting the power of collaboration, knowledge sharing, and innovation within Indigenous communities. One significant avenue for fostering progress is through deep tech start-ups led by Indigenous entrepreneurs. In partnership with CSIRO Kick-Start, these businesses are combining traditional wisdom with cutting-edge research and development (R&D) to create sustainable, innovative solutions. This article explores some remarkable Indigenous companies collaborating with CSIRO Kick-Start, showcasing their commitment to preserving heritage, fostering economic growth, and achieving a brighter, inclusive future.

  1. Ochre Sun: Blending Tradition with Modern Skincare Alana Kennedy, founder of Ochre Sun, proudly integrates ancient Indigenous wisdom into her high-protection sunscreen products. Ochre Sun sources botanicals based on traditional knowledge, ethically purchasing ingredients directly from Indigenous growers and Traditional Owners. CSIRO Kick-Start supports Alana’s vision by partnering with its Biomedical Manufacturing researchers. Together, they explore the therapeutic properties of native plants and develop advanced extraction methods for bioactives, ensuring the economic benefits reach Indigenous communities and creating a sustainable supply chain.
  2. Uncle Charlie’s Tastes of Country: Sharing Stories Through Snack Foods Uncle Charlie’s Tastes of Country, a gourmet snack food brand, combines flavors from Australian native foods and botanicals in sustainably produced popcorn. The company also contributes five percent of each product’s price to the Indigenous Nations where the raw ingredients originate. Through CSIRO Kick-Start, Uncle Charlie’s collaborates with CSIRO’s Data61 to develop advanced tracing methods that enhance storytelling and ensure traceable economic returns for the Nations involved.
  3. Outback Academy Australia: Nurturing Indigenous Farming Ventures Outback Academy Australia (OAA), a majority Indigenous-led organization, empowers First Nation-led farm-based businesses. Their Follow the Flowers initiative focuses on scaling and commercializing regenerative farming and related enterprises. In collaboration with CSIRO Biomedical Manufacturing researchers and a global skincare company, OAA works to analyze the chemical makeup of native botanicals. The goal is to develop methods for extracting and stabilizing bioactives for skincare, simultaneously fostering economic growth, environmental sustainability, and cultural preservation.
  4. Native Secrets: Preserving Traditional Medicine Practices Founded by Indigenous entrepreneurs Phil Thompson and Cherie Thompson, Native Secrets uses essential oils from wild-harvested Australian native plants to create natural skincare products. Their collaboration with CSIRO researchers explores the bioactive properties within these plants, optimal extraction methods, and safety considerations. The aim is to develop new therapeutic products rooted in Indigenous traditional medicine practices.
  5. Harnessing Lightning: Electrifying Crop Growth Rainstick, a sustainable agriculture start-up, was inspired by the Maiawali People’s traditional use of a ‘chuggera’ (lightning stick) to direct thunderstorm activity. Rainstick applies precision high-voltage electric fields to stimulate plant and fungi growth while preventing unwanted molds. CSIRO Kick-Start, in collaboration with Rainstick, delves into the science behind tailored electric influences to optimize crop growth and contribute to sustainable agriculture.

These Indigenous-led deep tech start-ups collaborating with CSIRO Kick-Start exemplify the power of combining heritage, innovation, and scientific expertise. Their commitment to preserving traditional knowledge, fostering economic growth, and creating sustainable solutions embodies the spirit of ‘To Gather, Together.’ As we celebrate Indigenous Business Month, we recognize the invaluable contributions of these businesses to a more inclusive and vibrant future.

NICC = National Indigenous Cultural Centre – works with Walkabout Australia – we give you indigenous products, indigenous music, aboriginal art – news (we are your indigenous home… (IF you want bush tucker food at your next event / if you want indigenous entertainment at your party / expo / conference; if you want an indigenous gift shop / if you want walkabout australia merchandise = contact us… = https://nicc.org.au (AND = https://www.facebook.com/WalkaboutAustralia

IF you want some indigenous food at your event, expo, conference / party = do you want indigenous / aboriginal entertainment at your function – digeridoo, or indigenous dance, aboriginal gift shop OR = we can tailor a solution for your event (for a few hours or a few days / in a regional town of in the major conference centre. What indigenous food, music, fashion, gift shop – what aboriginal theme do you seek?…

Source: https://www.csiro.au/en/news/All/Articles/2023/October/Indigenous-small-business

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