"The power to team up with others…is remarkable," said Gunai man Jason Eades, the CEO of PIC, an Indigenous consultancy with PricewaterhouseCoopers on a panel at the celebration of the inaugural Indigenous business month in October.
"The days of holding onto your business and intellectual data is gone,” he said. “Collaboration is an absolute given. You have to get in the room and share."
“Collaboration is an absolute given. You have to get in the room and share"
October has been dedicated as Indigenous Business Month, which was launched at Customs House in Sydney early in the month by communications and events organisation 33 Creative and the MURRA Indigenous Business Master Class program at Melbourne Business School of the University of Melbourne.
MURRA's Associate Professor Michelle Evans, who was also on the panel, encouraged collaborations to occur beyond the traditional industry sectors. "We want kids to see that their future lies not just in arts and sport," she said.
Young Wiradjuri man Owen Walsh, who is in his penultimate year at UNSW Business School, said he hoped the future of entrepreneurship could help advance Indigenous Australia.
"You know what, you can actually leave community, pursue business and use that to actually give back and help community so that, you know, we can all share the benefits," he said.
"You know what, you can actually leave community, pursue business and use that to actually give back and help community"
Mr Walsh said he hoped more role models could encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to set foot into business ventures.
"We know we have our Greg Inglises out there, we know we have our Johnathan Thurstons out there, in the areas of sport and community roles," he said about Indigenous rugby league leaders.
"But we don't have those sort of people who are ready to step up in numbers and say, 'well business is a possibility'."
He suggested there needed to be a change in mindset of communities.
"In community, we weren’t prepared when we were younger to sort of step up and go well, 'you know, we can actually be business people', and there’s a couple of reasons for that."
He said there were negative perceptions associated with doing business, which needed to change.
"We need to start changing those perspectives in the community and actually [say] to our younger people that they can actually be as good, if not better, than our non-Indigenous counterparts."