• Dean Foley (centre) at a startup weekend (NITV News)Source: NITV News
“I never knew what was possible in business entrepreneurship... that you could help yourself, but also help your community too.”
By
James Elton-Pym

26 Aug 2016 - 3:56 PM  UPDATED 26 Aug 2016 - 3:56 PM

Australia’s first startup weekend for Indigenous would-be entrepreneurs will be held at the State Library of Queensland this weekend.

Participants will pitch ideas and work on business ideas in groups, then pitch their ideas to a Shark Tank-esque panel of judges.

There are prizes for the winners, but organiser Dean Foley says he hopes some of the ideas may find a life outside the competition.

“If any Indigenous majority-owned businesses came out of it, that’d be great,” says the 27-year-old Kamilaroi man.

“They’re 100 percent more likely to hire Indigenous people.”

The event’s organisers are expecting 110 attendees, with 60 being Indigenous.

Mr Foley left the Air Force around two years ago after a Robert Kiyosaki book convinced him to pursue a career in business.

But he found support for Aboriginal entrepreneurs lacking.

“This [project] came out of frustration. I just felt I wasn’t getting the support I needed to get into business and many other Indigenous people feel the same way,” he says.

“A lot of Indigenous people in rural areas don’t know what’s possible and they don’t know how to achieve it.

“I never knew what was possible in business entrepreneurship ... that you could help yourself, but also help your community too.”

The startup weekend has the backing of Michael McLeod, CEO of the Aboriginal-owned communications firm Message Stick.

Mr Foley says he hopes the event will inspire Indigenous participants to start their own businesses, or even hold their own startup weekends.

“There’s a ripple effect that can come out of this,” he says. 

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