A GROUP of Mid West Aboriginal business leaders and entrepreneurs have been praised for their efforts and passion at a special graduation ceremony in Geraldton today.
The six leaders were praised for their work in the Mid West after receiving their graduation certificates at the closing event of the West Australian Aboriginal Leadership Program held at the African Reef in Geraldton.
The ceremony, attended by a host of dignitaries from the Mid West, heard how the inaugural program had delivered new skills, confidence and motivation to the business leaders.
Indigenous Professional Services Director and Program Leader Kristal Kinsela congratulated the leaders and graduates on their achievements.
“It’s quite an emotional day, seeing how close the group have become,” Ms Kinsela said.
“It’s been a wonderful journey for these business leaders over the past few months. The community can rightly be proud of their achievements.”
Ms Kinsela is the NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year, and a passionate advocate for Indigenous business growth. She has advised the Australian Government on policies to foster social inclusion and Indigenous economic independence.
Ms Kinsela said the WAALP program would provide long-lasting benefits to Indigenous businesses in Western Australia, and to the wider community.
“WAALP provides a proven and successful model for supporting Indigenous business growth in other regions within WA, and perhaps even throughout Australia,” Ms Kinsela said.
The WAALP program comprised four two-day sessions, with participants led through a range of activities designed to empower Aboriginal people to be resilient and capable business leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators who can support the development of emerging and existing local Aboriginal businesses.
It started in March 2017, and was hosted in key Midwest towns of Morowa, Geraldton and Meekatharra .
Indigenous Professional Services (IPS), a majority Indigenous owned business, has created the program for the Department of Regional Development (DRD). WAALP is one stream of a broader Royalties for Regions funded Aboriginal Governance and Leadership Development Program (AGLDP) aiming to encourage and provide opportunities for Aboriginal people to increase their participation in the State’s economy.