Empowering First Nations Entrepreneurs: Charles Sturt’s Indigenous Scale Up Program in Full Swing.
Charles Sturt University’s commitment to fostering Indigenous entrepreneurship continues as the second iteration of the Indigenous Scale Up Program takes flight in Wagga Wagga. From November 20 to November 23, a group of innovative First Nations entrepreneurs gathered at Charles Sturt’s AgriPark for a four-day workshop aimed at refining their business ideas centered around First Nations ingredients in food production and technology.
Hosted by Charles Sturt and Food Futures, the Indigenous Scale Up Program represents a crucial step forward in empowering First Nations participants to develop and expand their small businesses. Focused on the food and agriculture sector, this program provides a platform for First Nations business owners to elevate their existing ventures.
The diverse range of business ideas encompassed in the program spans across skincare, beverages, beauty, health, wellness, and medical offerings, all anchored in the utilization of First Nations ingredients. This holistic approach not only promotes entrepreneurial creativity but also emphasizes the cultural significance of these businesses within their communities.
Ged Bourke, Manager of the Charles Sturt Innovation Hub, highlighted the program’s dedication to delivering culturally sensitive scale-up strategies tailored specifically for First Nations businesses with established products or advanced prototypes. “Its primary objectives include maximizing market entry strategies, refining business models, and enhancing promotion and communication to reach a broader customer base,” he explained.
Building on the success of the first Indigenous Entrepreneur Program held in May, this second version aims to serve as a catalyst for identifying new collaborations between Charles Sturt and emerging First Nations businesses. By offering participants fortnightly online group sessions, masterclasses, and personal sessions, the program creates an inclusive environment where entrepreneurs can access a network of mentors, experts, and service providers.
The Indigenous Scale Up Program, running from October 2023 to February 2024, not only imparts essential business skills but also serves as a bridge for continued collaboration and engagement with Charles Sturt, especially in emerging research domains.
As a testament to the program’s impact, participants also had the opportunity to attend the AgriPark Industry and Innovation Hub opening and networking night. This event featured meat tastings by the University’s Red Meat Innovation Centre and wine from the Charles Sturt Winery, creating a vibrant space for collaboration and growth.
Through initiatives like the Indigenous Scale Up Program, Charles Sturt University remains committed to nurturing Indigenous entrepreneurship, ensuring that innovative business ideas rooted in cultural richness flourish and contribute to the broader economic landscape.
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