UNSW student Owen Walsh has helped launch October as Australia’s inaugural Indigenous Business Month, taking part in a panel discussion at Customs House in Sydney.
“As Indigenous people in Australia we have the opportunity to be at the forefront of technology and entrepreneurialism,” Owen said at the launch.
“Being an Indigenous entrepreneur gives you this intrinsic sense of culture and we can use these skills to accelerate business,” he said.
Owen was joined on the panel by Monica Barone, CEO of the City of Sydney, Jason Eades, CEO Price Waterhouse Coopers Indigenous Consulting and Associate Professor Dr Michelle Evans, Co-Founder of the Murra program at Melbourne Business School.
The discussion explored opportunities for raising the profile of the Indigenous business sector in Australia as well as celebrating Indigenous success. More than 100 members of the Indigenous business community attended the event.
The month features a series of events around Australia including a networking breakfast in Melbourne on 16 October, and in Canberra on 22 October, to connect Indigenous business leaders with corporate and government organisations.
While there are many Indigenous role models in sport and community, role models in business were harder to identify. Owen said he hopes more Indigenous business leaders will step up and help encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to set foot into business ventures.
Owen is currently in his fourth year of a dual degree in Commerce and Information Systems at UNSW Business School. He is also an intern with Tourism Australia and will undertake a vacation program at KPMG this summer.
UNSW Indigenous Business Education program manager Rebecca Harcourt said the panel discussion highlighted the importance of connectivity, cultural knowledge and collaboration and the growing successes of Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs across industry sectors.
“Owen is impassioned to encourage more Indigenous young people to embrace business and value the social impact business can create,” she said.
“He is developing his own business acumen through hard work, resilience and innovative forethought while recognising how approaches and practices in emerging economies in India and China can be applied here, fused with the energy, cultural and industry knowledge.”
Indigenous Business Month was instigated by Mayrah Sonter, Director of 33Creative, and fellow graduates of the Murra Indigenous business program.