• Liam Ridgeway (centre in pink) and John Saulo (on his right) pictured with the Indigenous Tech Network who are aspiring to build an Indigenous digital economy. (Ngakkan Nyaagu)Source: Ngakkan Nyaagu
Indigenous digital agency Ngakkan Nyaagu (NGNY) was the inaugural winner of the ‘PwC & MURRA Boost Initiative’ awarded yesterday, receiving $30,000 to put towards skills and expertise training.
By
Karina Marlow

9 Dec 2016 - 1:31 PM  UPDATED 9 Dec 2016 - 1:31 PM

The one hundred percent Aboriginal owned company was co-founded by Liam Ridgeway and John Saulo in 2014 and counts websites such as IndigenousX, Blacademics and Yabun Festival’s 2016 website amongst their portfolio.

With eight staff employed across graphic design, developing, communications and marketing, the team is well on their way towards their goal of establishing a vibrant Indigenous Digital Economy.

“We’re very excited to win the PwC & MURRA Boost Initiative,” said Liam Ridgeway.

“Our business is growing very quickly, so we are looking forward to working with PwC to manage and harness this growth.”

The company’s name Ngakkan Nyaagu means ‘see’ in Wergaia and Gumbaynggirr languages and draws on the Indigenous heritage of both co-founders.

Liam is a descendant of the Gumbaynggirr people of the North Coast of NSW and grew up in Sydney’s Eora Country, landing a job at Microsoft before switching to IT start-ups.

John is a descendant of the Wergaia, Wemba Wemba & Gunditjmara peoples of western Victoria and the Mongomuna clan of New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea. He has built up over fifteen years’ experience in the retail industry and cut his teeth operating small businesses and running an art charity.

The 'PwC & MURRA Boost Initiative' was established as a partnership between professional services firm PwC and Melbourne Business School’s MURRA Indigenous Business Masterclass Program. The initiative is designed to help strengthen and build capacity within Indigenous business organisations.

“We know the Indigenous business sector is growing and a vital facet of the broader Australian economic landscape,” said Kim Cheater, chair of PwC's Reconciliation Action Plan Committee.

“The Boost Initiative is a direct injection of expertise to assist the growth of Indigenous firms. It is start up Indigenous tech companies like NGNY that provide inspiration and aspiration for the Indigenous business sector,” agreed Associate Professor in Leadership and MURRA Co-Founder Michelle Evans.

The skills and expertise training provided through the initiative will go towards supporting a specific issue identified by the business that will allow for future growth.

“We are looking for assistance to develop a long-term strategy for NGNY that is focused on sustainable growth,” says Liam. “We see great opportunity in this sector and would like to explore how third party capital could help us grow in order to meet demand.”

“We would like to also explore how we can expand our network to increase exposure of not only NGNY but also the Australian Indigenous tech community.”

How Indigenous businesses can 'change the game'
The second annual Indigenous Business Month, an initiative of the MURRA Indigenous Master Class Program, is about to come to a close and this week a panel was held to discuss the unique position that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander entrepreneurs and business people hold in the business 'game'.
The Digital Age can't take down this Indigenous printing business
Digital media has brought on the decline of the print industry, but this Indigenous printing business grew 4% in the past year.