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yiramiilan: wambigi marramaldhaany buwagirri

Sunrise (new day): to support growers/makers grow

We acknowledge the use of Wiradjuri language, shared for use by Wiradjuri woman Tracy Ryan

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



The Indigenous Entrepreneur program has been developed in a collaboration between Charles Sturt University and Food Futures Company. 


It is an early stage program specifically for aspiring Indigenous entrepreneurs and early stage Indigenous founders who are looking for help to explore, build and launch a business in food and agriculture. 




Applications Open: 1 February 2023

Applications Close: 6 March 2023

Program Duration: 13 March- 30 June 2023


A hybrid model of online sessions and two in person events. In person events scheduled:

  • 28-29 March 2023 (Sydney)

  • 24-25 May 2023 (Wagga Wagga)

  • June Event (TBC)


Free- This program has been funded by the NSW Government Boosting Business Innovation Program, in collaboration with Charles Sturt University and Food Futures Company.


  • Work on your idea with the guidance of experienced coaches

  • Tailored support to each individual or team

  • Development of your tailored business roadmap

  • Cohort-based participation in a culturally safe and supportive environment

  • Access to our broad network of industry mentors, role models and cultural advisors

  • Opportunities to participate in food industry events 

Got Questions?

Book in a 1:1 chat with our team
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This customised program has been built to help you navigate the different stages of exploring ideas and launching a new product or technology business in the food and agriculture sector. The program will have a specific focus on native foods and medicinal plants.  Over a four month period, you will learn through weekly masterclasses and workshops; build your confidence and entrepreneurial skills and connect with our broad network other Indigenous and non-Indigenous entrepreneurs in a culturally safe and supportive environment. 

MARCH 2023


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The program will commence with stage one which will help you refine your idea and be inspired by other Indigenous entrepreneurs who have successfully launched their new food and agriculture business.  We will kick off with a 3-day residential workshop (21-23 March 2023) at Charles Sturt University campus in Wagga Wagga in the heart of Wiradjuri country where you will meet other participants in the program and participate in Yarning circles with Indigenous role models and Elders.  A weekly series of online sessions will also be delivered to help you explore consumer trends and market opportunities for your idea and you will be partnered with your 1:1 business coach and mentors.


APRIL 2023


In stage two you will be starting to build your idea into a real product or technology.  You will be introduced to marketing and branding concepts and you will build your own simple website and social media assets.  When your product starts to take shape you will begin testing with potential customers.  This stage is delivered fully online in weekly sessions that include: practical group discussions; meeting with experts and mentors; and 1:1 business coaching.


MAY 2023

Stage three will prepare you for the launch of your product with real customers.  You will be supported with the relevant technical advice in areas such as: recipe development; food safety; packaging and labelling.  This stage also includes an introduction to setting up your own business; protecting your idea; presentation skills; and participation in an in-person event at Charles Sturt.


JUNE 2023

The final stage four of the program will be customised to you and where you are at in the development of your idea and new business.  It will include ongoing support to build and launch your product or technology; business coaching; and introductions to potential retail, food service or manufacturing partners.  On successful completion of the program you will become a member of the Food Futures community of Indigenous and non-Indigenous food and agriculture entrepreneurs and business owners.



This program is specifically for aspiring Indigenous entrepreneurs (located in NSW) who are looking to develop products and businesses in the food and agriculture sector. Current students, researchers or alumni of Charles Sturt University are encouraged to apply.  You can be a First Nations person or a team with at least 50% First Nations team members.

You could be working on any of the following ideas or concepts:

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

  • Innovative new foods that may include native plant or animal ingredients eg 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

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

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

  • Ideas to reduce food waste or upcycled low value food

  • Ideas that improve the sustainability of any food and agriculture sector including native foods

  • New technologies that improve the production of native foods eg wattle harvesting technologies

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

  • Ideas that improve community access to healthy foods


These are examples only and we are interested in your ideas!

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1 February 2023


Applications open on the 1 February 2023. Click on any of the 'apply now' buttons to fill in a simple application form.


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  • Can I apply if I live outside of NSW?
    You can apply if you are a current student or alumni of Charles Sturt University even if you live outside of NSW or live near the NSW border of Wagga Wagga.
  • What if I have never used online tools such as Zoom or Google Drive before?
    No problem – we will provide all participants with technical training and support to make sure you can participate fully in the program
  • Can I apply if I have never attended University?
    Yes!As long as you are a First Nations person living in NSW
  • How do I apply?
    Applications open on 19 September 2023. Click any of the apply now buttons on this page and fill in a simple application form.
  • Do I need to have a team or can I apply by myself?
    You can apply by yourself. If you have other team members, there must be at least 50% First Nations people on the team.
  • I don’t live in Wagga Wagga, are the costs of participating in the in-person workshops covered?
    Yes your accommodation and meals will be covered plus agreed expenses to get there (must be approved in writing).
  • Can I apply if I am currently working or studying full-time?
    Yes, the online sessions will be held at a time that suits the majority of participants. You will need to be available for the in-person sessions in Wagga Wagga, which is for the bootcamp 6-10 Nov 2023 and the final showcase on WC 12 Feb 2024. Please contact us if you are not sure.
  • Can I apply if I only have an idea and have not launched my business yet?
    Unfortunately not this time. This program has been designed for mature businesses, however we will be running an early stage program again in early 2024. Please sign up to our newsletters and give us a call as we'd love to meet you.
  • Will it cost me anything to participate in the program?
    No, there is no cost to apply or participate in the program as it is fully funded
  • Is the program held virtually or in person?
    Most of the program is delivered online with two in-person meets one in November (5 day bootcamp, 6-10 Nov 2023 in Wagga Wagga) and one in Feb 2024 (Showcase, WC 12 Feb 2024, Wagga Wagga).
  • Who will own my idea and business at the end of the program?
    You will own your idea and business 100%. Neither Food Futures Company or Charles Sturt University will own any equity in your idea or business and all of your information will remain confidential (with exception of case study and other promotional materials that we will discuss with you prior to you accepting a place in the program).
  • What does the selection process look like?
    We will speak with everyone who applies and conduct online interviews to select the final participants (up to 10 will be selected)
  • I am not sure my idea is suitable – where can I get more information?
    You can book a call with us here
  • How will applications be evaluated/what are you looking for?
    We are looking for export-ready Future Protein brands with products already in the market that are ready to expand into Asian markets in the next 12 months. The Food Futures and GROW team will assess all applications based on product innovation and market opportunity, founder/team experience and coachability and commitment to a long-term export strategy.
  • How long does the program go for?
    The program will run for approximately 5 months.
  • How does the program work?
    The program is structured over four key phases including: Phase 1, 1 June - 9 July 2023: You will commence the program remotely with an introduction to the ASEAN region and exporting. Phase 2, 9 July - 13 August 2023: Market Access- Get a clear idea of your target customer and launch market, and prepare your marketing assets and export strategy in readiness for the 'boots on the ground' group trip to Singapore in October. Phase 3, 20 August - 24 September 2023: Scaling your internationalisation plan and developing your long term export strategy. Phase 4, 1 October - 5 November 2023: Launching into Asia
  • Where is the program located?
    The Future Protein Program is a hybrid program delivered online via masterclasses, access to a learning workspace and 1:1 sessions via zoom and also has an in-market trip to Singapore w/c 30 October 2023.
  • When do applications open?
    Applications open on 7 March 2023 and will close 30 April 2023. To apply simply click the link HERE or press any of the APPLY NOW buttons on the page.
  • How many hours per week will I need to commit?
    You will need to commit 5-10 hours per week during this program; however, the more time and energy you put into the sessions and, most importantly, making the connections we curate for you, the more successful your launch into Asia will be.
  • Do you own my IP?
    No; please discuss with our team.
  • How do I apply?
    Please fill in an application form HERE or click any of the 'apply now' buttons on the page.
  • When does the program kickoff?
    The program will officially launch from 1 June 2023.
  • What are the key benefits of the program?
    Tailored support to each business Strategy and pitch coaching Access to a comprehensive platform of resources and tools Access to our broad network of industry mentors, founders, experts and trusted service providers in Australia and Asia Connections to customers and channel partners PR and participation in large industry events Further internationalisation pathways and alumni programs Access to EMDG partner for export and other grants
  • How many teams will be accepted?
    4-6 Australian future protein businesses will be accepted.
  • Is this the only program you will run?
    This is the only GROW2Asia™ Future Protein Program running in 2023; there may be more in the future.
  • Do you take equity?
    No- not unless you choose a payment plan that includes an option of equity- please feel free to discuss this with our friendly team
  • How can I learn more or ask questions?
    Email or book in a chat with the team here.
  • Do I need to have exported before?
    You do not need to have exported before, but your company must be ready to export in the next 12 months. If you are already exporting, this program can help you build further connections in the market.
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