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.
- 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.
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.