October is Indigenous Business Month and over the last few weeks we’ve been chatting to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander women about what it means to run their own business and contribute to our community.
Fiona Harrison, Chocolate on Purpose
I believe I have a responsibility to articulate my voice around issues that affect my mob, therefore I use my public reach (which isn’t big but it exists) to speak about topical information. I’m not an activist (I’m too timid for that) but I speak where I can and it’s actually caused ‘Likers’ on social media to threaten me and to unfollow my business… and that’s ok because my commitment is to ‘truth-telling’.
I’m (re) learning my Wiradyuri Culture & Language, and use language in my chocolate descriptions and on social media to garner attention…. to make people pause and notice… to encourage people’s curiosity so that they listen… to create awareness and educate so the ‘great amnesia’ of Australia can awaken and Recognition of past events, Redress: set things right, Restitution: restoration of what has been stolen and Recompense: compensate for injury and loss… can happen, so the journey to the place of Reconciliation will be a place of authenticity & justice.
I’m building an Indigenous led supply chain to empower my mob. Only 1% of producers in the Australian native food & botanical supply chain is Indigenous, despite the industry being founded and grown on the back of cultural wisdom and intellectual property. So I, in particular, purchase botanical ingredients from Indigenous producers where I can, to enable them to increase their participation in their supply chains. Of that 1%, less than 1% are female yet traditionally women are the holders of the plant knowledge and shared that through storytelling, so I feel I’m continuing the women’s business of sharing native botanicals to deepen respect for ancient Indigenous wisdom and culture. I hope to find the injection of capital to acquire productive assets to scale from artisan to commercial, which is where I can commence employment strategies to support Indigenous women to reclaim sovereignty in the native botanical space, and also women 45+ because they are the fastest growing demographic of homeless.
And foremost….every successful Indigenous business chips away a little more at the stereotypes of Indigenous people, so if I can be successful and contribute to breaking down stereotypes, it makes me very happy. And if my efforts and success are a model to younger mob looking for a way to make their mark in the world, then my job here is done.
Chevell Browning – Origin Business Consultants
As a First Nations business owner, it is important for me to not only support other First Nations business but to work with ones that align with my values in supporting and giving back to community.
Our business has provided me with the opportunity to interact with deadly people, support amazing causes and give back not only within my own community but across the nations.
I believe when you support authentic blak products and services you ensure that the economic benefit is returned to the community and mob.
Leah Bennet, Leah Paige Designs
As a First Nations business owner I would like to see Aboriginal homewares celebrated through designer furniture stores and high-end luxury spaces with the same esteem as Non-Indigenous & European brands.
Chocolate on Purpose, Origin Business Consultants and Leah Paige Designs are all featured on our online platform’s free Business Directory. To find out more about our online platform, head to https://emberconnect.com.au/our-meeting-place/.