top of page
good saltbush _edited.jpg

First Nations Entrepreneurial Program

First Nation women in STEM and Entrepreneurship

With cultural preservation and community success at the forefront, our programs are designed to build connections, share challenges and promote sustainable business models.


The First Nations Entrepreneurial Program is designed to support and build capacity for First Nation owned start-ups to develop successful business venture in food and agriculture, with a specific focus on native foods. Offering two customised streams, these programs cater to the distinct needs of the entrepreneurial journey.

In the early-stage program, aspiring First Nation founders are equipped with the essential skills to transform their ideas into viable businesses. The program fosters capability and instils confidence, laying a strong foundation for entrepreneurial success.

For First Nation entrepreneurs with existing businesses in the sector, the scale-up program aims to facilitate growth and scaling into new markets and channels. This stream also focuses on fostering capability and building confidence, empowering entrepreneurs to expand their ventures sustainably.

Our programs typically run between 10-20 weeks. They are delivered via a hybrid model of online and in-person sessions, connecting participants with industry experts, role models, and mentors.

We would like to acknowledge that this program is part of the Indigenous Girls & Women STEM and Entrepreneurship Round 4 grant funding from the Australian Government.


“I have gained a wealth of knowledge and amazing friendships and connections. With the guidance from experienced businesses and mentors, the templates and resources that have been provided, I have so much more confidence in myself and far more adept at building my business up and becoming more successful.”

Bek Shepherd, Edible Native Landscapes

Programs to date 

Charles Sturt Indigenous Entrepreneur Program

Supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs to explore ideas and build businesses in food and agriculture. 

This customised early-stage program was developed in a collaboration between Food Futures Company and Charles Sturt University. The program was specifically designed for aspiring First Nation entrepreneurs and early-stage First Nation founders.  The program aimed to provide assistance in exploring, building, and launching businesses in food and agriculture, with a specific focus on native foods and medicinal plants.


Over a four-month period, participants engaged in weekly masterclasses and workshops, building confidence, entrepreneurial skills, and connecting with a broad network of entrepreneurs in a culturally safe and supportive environment. The program guided participants through different stages of exploring ideas and launching new products or technology businesses in the food and agriculture sector.

Supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs to develop and scale mature businesses in food and agriculture.

Charles Sturt Indigenous Entrepreneur Scale Up Program

Our 12-week program offered in-depth support to First Nation entrepreneurs with existing businesses in the agrifood sector. It facilitated business expansion and promoted innovative ventures within the community for sustainable impact.

This custom program was designed to bolster participants’ entrepreneurial abilities, providing access to our extensive network and expediting their business growth while helping to shape sustainable business models in a culturally safe and supportive environment.

This Scale Up Program was developed as a second collaboration between Food Futures Company and Charles Sturt University.

Bush 2 Bowl.jpg
Copy of Copy of Innovation Showcase_037.jpeg

Meet our alumni


Who should apply

First Nation business founders across Australia, either developing products and businesses or with mature and existing start-ups in the food and agriculture sector. Teams with at least 50% First Nations members are eligible.

We welcome diverse business ideas, fostering innovation and sustainability.

You could be a food and agriculture business with any of the following examples of ideas or concepts:

  • New range of food products based on native ingredients e.g. condiments; jams & chutneys; curry pastes; sauces

  • Innovative new foods that may include native plant or animal ingredients e.g. ready meals; protein bars; plant-based products; desserts; healthy pizza toppings; pasta and pasta sauces; products for healthy ageing or kids; gut health; reduced sugar

  • Service business such as landscaping, foodservice, nutritional guidance and education services

  • Healthy ingredients that may include native plants that could be of interest to large food manufacturers e.g. native plant powders and extracts

  • New products based on the healing and medicinal properties of native plants e.g. skin care; beauty products; nutraceuticals

  • Working to reduce food waste or upcycled low value food

  • Improving the sustainability of any food and agriculture sector including native foods

  • New technologies that improve the production of native foods e.g. wattle harvesting technologies

  • Technologies that increase traceability and authentication of native agriculture and food value chains

  • Improving community access to healthy foods


If you're a founder with a start-up or interested in contributing as a mentor or funding partner, we want to hear from you.

Book in a 20-minute office hours session with the Food Futures Team.

Program Benefits

Customised program

The First Nations Entrepreneurial Programs are uniquely designed for each cohort, providing access to tailored resources, masterclasses and workshops through virtual group sessions

Tailored support

Receive personalised one-to-one coaching and mentoring throughout the program. You will be matched with an experienced coach based on our deep dive sessions about your business or idea

Immersive experiences

Engage in at least one comprehensive in-person bootcamp offering immersive experiences, workshops and the potential for a showcase event

Access to industry mentors and experts

Benefit from direct access to a network of mentors, expert service providers, investors, value chain partners, and customers

Community and peer engagement

Connect with Elders and First Nation role models throughout the program. Experience continuous support during the incubation period, including peer review and guidance from the advisory board

Business presentations and pitches

Showcase your entrepreneurial spirit with opportunities to articulate and present your business ideas at various stages throughout the program

Extensive resources

Access an extensive collection of resources and tools. Explore interactions with researchers and University research facilities

Alumni community

Enjoy ongoing support post-program including integration into the Food Futures and Farmers2Founders founder alumni community


Have you got questions?

Office hours is an opportunity for you to book in a 20 minute session with one of the team to talk through any questions you have about the program.

bottom of page