IPS Managing Director Kristal Kinsela-Christie and Ngakkan Nyaagu co-founder Liam Ridgeway co-hosted the Indigenous Business Month event at the University of NSW (UNSW) on October 24.
The event started with a tradeshow. Market stalls were set up on the lawns for students, staff and visitors to see the showcase of local Indigenous businesses.
Three sessions followed the tradeshow. Session one included a combination of short film debuts and presentations. Session two offered four workshops, including learning about design making, IP and the law, Indigenous business pathways and tax skills. The final session included two book launches for Kristal's Supplier Diversity How, and Thomas Mayor’s new book Finding the Heart of the Nation. Some short films and short presentations by Indigenous businesses followed.
Kristal, who is currently undertaking her MBA at UNSW, said she was blown away by the calibre of the presenters.
"Phil and Cherie Thompson from Native Secrets make native skincare and oil products. This Dubbo duo are going global, and have just signed a contract to have their skincare range available in a vending machine in Singapore airport," Kristal said.
"Thomas Mayor had me in tears as he recited word for word the Uluru Statement from the Heart, from his heart. His story and journey are absolutely incredible, and made me reflect on how our advocacy to gain public support on this is so important.
"Mayrah Sonter is a long time friend of mine. I've known Mayrah for more than 12 years. She never ceases to amaze me with the work 33 Creative is doing. She has just started a new podcast called The Real, and I would encourage everyone to have a listen. It actively shares stories (interviews) with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all diverse walks of life.
"Ben Eisokovich, who I saw graduate from UNSW a couple of years ago, now works at Westpac, and is one of the co-founders of the Indigenous Finance and Business Conference, which will have its inaugural event this December.
"Debra Beale runs a design business called Deboriginal. She is making jewellery, running workshops, part of runway shows, designing signage and RAP’s. She spoke from the heart about overcoming an ice addiction and how being in business had transformed her life. She is now exploring how to have her designs on furniture.
"Joseph Masters didn’t present, but I had the most amazing conversation with him. He was the youngest pilot to start a professional career at 19, flying for Jetstar. At 25 he now flies for Qantas. He recently had an accident where he broke his arm. He was overseas in Bali, flew home immediately, and couldn’t get surgery for a week - it didn’t stop him from going to work, or turning up to university for classes (he is currently studying his dual degree Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Aviation Management). Absolutely incredible young Aboriginal man! He blew me away," Kristal said. "Indigenous business month is an important time of the year, and an opportunity to share the stories and success of people doing amazing things in their respective sectors and industries. These stories of success give inspiration, hope, and demonstrate that anything is possible."
Photo Credits: Mayrah Sonter and Rebecca Harcourt
Session One Presenters
Co-hosting: Kristal Kinsela-Christie and Liam Ridgeway