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Connect, Create and Cultivate

First Nations Entrepreneur Program

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What is the NativeGrow Program?

NativeGrow, is an early stage entrepreneur program which aims to inspire and support First Nations aspiring entrepreneurs working on business ideas in native food, botanicals and agriculture including food products, ingredients, skin care and beauty, health and wellness, technology and medicinal products.


The program will provide you with 1:1 coaching, access to industry mentors and experts and support you to build confidence and capabilities to launch a sustainable business venture along the native agriculture and food value chain. 

This program received funding from the Australian Government and is in collaboration with Food and Beverage Accelerator (FaBA) and The University of Queensland.

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Got Questions?

Book in a 1:1 chat with our team

What you need to know:


Applications Open: 27 May 2024

Applications Close: 08 July 2024

Program Launches: 29 July 2024

Program Duration: 18 Weeks (Finishes 25 November 2024)


A hybrid model of online sessions and two face to face events:

  • Boot Camp: 19 or 26 August 2024 - University of Queensland  (TBC)

  • Showcase Event: 25 November 2024 - University of Queensland 


No cost to you for the program. This program has been funded by the Australian Government, in collaboration with Food and Beverage Accelerator (FaBA) and The University of Queensland.

What's included
  • Virtual group sessions and masterclasses

  • Tailored business coaching and mentoring

  • Intensive Boot Camp and Showcase hosted by The University of Queensland

  • Development of sustainable business models

  • Validation of ideas through customer discovery

  • Creation of 6-12 month growth roadmaps

  • Formulation of an early go-to-market strategy

  • Connection to Elders and role models

  • Direct access to a network of mentors and experts

  • Access to resources and tools, including university research facilities

  • Post-program support and integration into our alumni community


Meet our alumni

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How it works

This customised program has been meticulously designed to guide you through the intricate stages of exploring ideas and launching a new product or technology business in the food and agriculture sector, with a specific focus on native foods and medicinal plants.


In the initial stage of the program, emphasis is placed on fostering connections. You'll engage in activities aimed at establishing robust foundational relationships with fellow founders and coaches. Through networking opportunities and collaborative sessions, you'll begin building the support network vital for your entrepreneurial journey.


Dive into the heart of innovation as you progress to the "Create" phase. Here, you'll delve into customer discovery, mapping out their journeys and personas. Through interactive workshops, you'll develop a comprehensive marketing and sales strategy tailored to your target audience. Gain insights into finance management and understanding intellectual property, essential elements for the success of your venture.


As you advance through the program, focus shifts to nurturing your entrepreneurial skills in the "Cultivate" stage. Strengthen your resilience and leadership abilities through specialised workshops. Craft a detailed roadmap outlining your path to success and hone your presentation skills to effectively articulate your vision to stakeholders. This phase equips you with the tools and mindset necessary to navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship with confidence.

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Who can apply?

This program is specifically for First Nations aspiring women entrepreneurs, ideally located in Queensland who are looking to develop products and businesses in the native food, botanicals and agriculture sector.


Current students, researchers or alumni of The University of Queensland are encouraged to apply.  You can be a First Nations founder, or a team with at least 50% First Nations team members.


Your business ideas might cover a wide range of industries from food production and technology in the agrifood sector to specialised segments such as skincare, beauty, health, wellness, and medicinal offerings. You may be working on any of the following ideas or concepts:

  • New range of food products with 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

  • 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 or botanicals e.g. 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 e.g. 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!

Learning Outcomes
  • Define and articulate what an entrepreneurial mindset is (or could be) within First Nations cultural contexts and explore concepts, strategies and methods to develop appropriate entrepreneurial ways of thinking to support your identified business or concept

  • Analyse emerging trends and consumer preferences within the food and agriculture industry and assess their relevance to your identified business or concept, to apply market research skills

  • Identify and apply early go to market approaches, sales and marketing methods and branding strategies to your identified business or concept

  • Apply the "Lean Canvas" model and lean start up methodology to develop prototypes, evaluate feasibility and test Minimum Viable Products (MVP) for your identified business or concept

  • Conduct customer discovery, research, and validation activities specific to your identified business, to validate unique value propositions, explain your customer journey and identify channels to explore

  • Develop a roadmap or plan outlining the stages and milestone goals for your identified business or concept to support strategic planning, goal setting and business growth

  • Evaluate existing methods of Intellectual Property (IP) protection within the food and agriculture industry including risks, challenges, benefits and select appropriate strategies to safeguard your businesses’ assets

  • Explore the significance of value chain partnerships and the role of co-manufacturers in business operations, and benefits, risks, challenges of collaborative relationships within the industry, in relation to your business/concept

  • Evaluate, select, and use financial planning strategies such as unit economics, profit and cost analysis, and profitability assessments to optimise financial management of your identified business or concept

  • Build relationships with fellow founders, industry experts and mentors to establish a network and facilitate collaboration and support, and opportunities for growth and development of your business/concept within the sector

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27 May 2024

Applications open on the 27 May 2024. Click on any of the 'apply now' buttons to fill in an application form.

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