Supporting the development of First Nations enterprises across Central Australia.

Desert Knowl­edge Aus­tralia has received $326,000 in grant fund­ing from the North­ern Ter­ri­to­ry Government’s Depart­ment of Indus­try, Tourism and Trade to research, design and pilot a pro­gram to sup­port the devel­op­ment of First Nations enter­pris­es across Cen­tral Australia.

The DKAc­cel­er­a­tor is a pro­gram designed to sup­port First Nations entre­pre­neurs to accel­er­ate the growth of their busi­ness through inten­sive men­tor­ship, project-based learn­ing, and dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy inno­va­tion. The pro­gram responds to the socio-cul­tur­al bar­ri­ers of run­ning a busi­ness in Cen­tral Aus­tralia by pro­vid­ing respon­sive and con­tex­tu­al sup­port, and work­ing along­side entre­pre­neurs and their sup­port network.

Pro­gram Objectives

  • Devel­op an impact­ful eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment strat­e­gy for First Nations enter­pris­es, which can be replicated.
  • Sup­port First Nations start-ups to grow and devel­op into sus­tain­able businesses.
  • Respond to unique socio­cul­tur­al bar­ri­ers by deliv­er­ing appro­pri­ate and con­tex­tu­al support.
  • Build dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy capa­bil­i­ties to over­come bar­ri­ers, solve busi­ness prob­lems, and cap­ture opportunities.

A small team of expe­ri­enced entre­pre­neurs will work along­side First Nations founders to devel­op and imple­ment a self-gen­er­at­ing growth mod­el in their busi­ness, by build­ing the nec­es­sary lead­er­ship and deci­sion-mak­ing skills, oper­a­tional know-how and tech­ni­cal capability.

The DKAc­cel­er­a­tor has been devel­oped based on pri­ma­ry and sec­ondary research, as well as con­sul­ta­tions with key stake­hold­ers, includ­ing local entre­pre­neurs and ser­vice providers in the Abo­rig­i­nal Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment network.

The program’s pre­lim­i­nary objec­tive was to con­duct research on both Abo­rig­i­nal busi­ness­es and busi­ness sup­port ser­vices across the region, and to eval­u­ate gaps in busi­ness devel­op­ment sup­port and under­stand how they can be filled. A region­al analy­sis explored many aspects of First Nations entre­pre­neurs and busi­ness­es, and high­light­ed the dis­tinct dif­fer­ences between Abo­rig­i­nal and non-Abo­rig­i­nal entre­pre­neur­ship. Specif­i­cal­ly, the research involved under­stand­ing moti­va­tions for start­ing and run­ning a busi­ness; the def­i­n­i­tion and met­rics of suc­cess; and socio-cul­tur­al chal­lenges faced by First Nations founders in Cen­tral Australia.

The pilot pro­gram is designed to address eco­nom­ic bar­ri­ers iden­ti­fied in the research, and fill a gap in the exist­ing sup­port net­work for First Nations enter­pris­es. The pro­gram focus­es on help­ing entre­pre­neurs build momen­tum and con­fi­dence in their busi­ness by pro­vid­ing inten­sive, respon­sive, hands-on sup­port through men­tor­ship, project-based learn­ing and a cul­tur­al­ly appro­pri­ate frame­work. The program’s approach is to inte­grate and add val­ue to the entre­pre­neurs’ exist­ing sup­port net­work, help­ing them accel­er­ate the growth of their business.

The pilot pro­gram will run for 24 weeks between May and Decem­ber 2021, where a select group of First Nations entre­pre­neurs will work along­side a small team of expe­ri­enced facil­i­ta­tors. The entre­pre­neurs will progress through four phas­es of devel­op­ment: (i) dis­cov­ery and plan­ning, (ii) foun­da­tion and scal­a­bil­i­ty, (iii) growth and accel­er­a­tion, and (iv) automa­tion and future plan­ning. The pro­gram will be deliv­ered on coun­try and at the Desert Knowl­edge Precinct, ensur­ing cul­tur­al safe­ty and a pro­duc­tive work­space with access to dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy facilities.

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The DKAc­cel­er­a­tor pro­gram is led by Jamie Toyne, who grew up in Mparn­twe (Alice Springs) and is the founder and CEO of an inter­na­tion­al busi­ness con­sult­ing group called Dealflow Bro­ker­age. Jamie start­ed Dealflow whilst liv­ing in San Fran­cis­co to help entre­pre­neurs start, devel­op, grow and exit their busi­ness. Since return­ing home after 13 years abroad, Jamie has been sup­port­ing local entre­pre­neurs and First Nations organ­i­sa­tions to devel­op sus­tain­able self-gen­er­at­ed income streams.

Inter­est­ed in apply­ing or learn­ing more about this program?

Program Overview


DKAccelerator wraps up pilot delivery to first cohort of entrepreneurs

Dec 15, 2021

DKA’s enterprise development program has completed delivery of its six-month intensive business coaching schedule to four selected Indigenous businesses.

DKA launches new program to support Indigenous enterprises

May 10, 2021

DKAccelerator is a new program to support the development and growth of First Nations enterprises in Central Australia.

DKA Welcomes Jamie Toyne

Dec 03, 2020

Alice Springs local Jamie Toyne joins the DKA team as Program Director / Business Coach, facilitating the new Enterprise Development program.