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Charles Sturt Indigenous Entrepreneur Scale-Up Program - an Enriching Journey

Updated: Mar 1

The Charles Sturt Indigenous Entrepreneur Scale-Up Program wrapped up last week, after twelve weeks of workshops, panels, and masterclasses with a key focus on fostering long-term, sustainable business practices and the inclusion of a bootcamp, hosted at the Charles Sturt University AgriPark Innovation Centre

Food Futures Company collaborated with Charles Sturt University to facilitate a program to support entrepreneurs in the native agrifood sector. Methods to enhance their entrepreneurial skills, fostering business expansion, promoting community impact, and to encourage further innovative ventures across the industry were explored. 

Commencing with an in-person bootcamp, including a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony formally grounded all program members on Wiradjuri Country. Aunty Deb Evans facilitated a yarning circle that beautifully set intentions for the entrepreneurial journey ahead. And so, a solid foundation was laid for the next twelve weeks of professional and business development. Program members set expectations around professional growth and knowledge acquisition through a blend of online interactive group sessions, in-depth masterclasses, practical workshops, and personalised business coaching. 

Industry leaders including Gary Green of Mt Yengo Wines, Pia Winburg from Phyco Health, Digital Storytellers, Phillips Ormonde Lawyers on IP and trademark advice, and Brian Nasr of Healthy Food Crew, shared their industry know-how and invaluable experience. Finance and industry insights from Chelsea Ford, along with the expertise shared by some of our esteemed alumni; Jesse Gurrgir of Lore Australia, Mindy Woods from Karkalla at Home, and Sharon Winsor of Indigiearth, deeply enhanced our sessions. 

Tours and sessions held at Charles Sturt University AgriPark and the AgriPark Winery and Cellar Door provided the perfect backdrop and atmosphere for collaborative discussions and workshops on communication strategies, growth marketing, and strategic goal setting was complemented by evening networking opportunities and celebrations. The encouragement, support, and industry expertise provided by our dedicated coaches; George Gekas, Anna Barlow, Luke Marshall, and Penelope Dodd throughout this program has been invaluable and provided founders an opportunity to connect one-on-one with industry experts through coaching sessions tailored to their specific business needs.

The founders have navigated the ever-changing entrepreneurial landscape, showcasing the resilience that defines their innovative spirit. Some of the founders launched during the program, exemplifying the dynamic nature of their entrepreneurial ventures, whilst others have imminent launches. Food Futures is looking forward to seeing these business outcomes and celebrate in their success.

Food Futures have had the privilege of learning alongside these extraordinary founders and express gratitude for the privilege of being part of their entrepreneurial journey.

The founders collective passion for elevating the role of Native Food and Agriculture in Australia, coupled with their advocacy for First Nations-led businesses, has been profoundly inspiring. Each founder is preserving the ancestral knowledge of First Nations Peoples and ensuring that native foods and products are ethically sourced and respected.

We extend our gratitude to our dedicated founders, remarkable individuals like Fiona Harrison of Chocolate on Purpose, Fiona Rudkin from One Honey Australia, Sam Kirby of Wandering Emu, Stacey Mathers from Native Fusion, Robert and Kera from Kempsey Health Food Shop and Cafe, Josh and Jasmine from Laguna Native Grains and the amazing founder of the Australian Bush Food Education Centre. All of whom have been instrumental in shaping the success of this program.

For those interested in collaborating on similar programs or joining as founders, we encourage you to reach out to our team or book office hours for a chat. We are always eager to work with like-minded individuals to support initiatives for better food systems, better food, and a better world.

*This project received grant funding from the Australian Government

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