Five Businesses To Check Out This Indigenous Business Month

Five Businesses To Check Out This Indigenous Business Month

October is the time of the year when we celebrate our culture through entrepreneurship. Indigenous Business Month is a month-long celebration initiated by the alumni of Melbourne Business School’s MURRA Indigenous Business Master Class Program in 2015. They positioned business as a means towards self-determination, providing positive role models for Indigenous Australians, and helping the quality of life of indigenous communities.

(image supplied by Brolga Dance Academy)

In its seventh year, the theme is “Powering the Indigenous Economy”. The theme encourages indigenous businesses to participate in conversations and activities that showcase the contribution to the economy of Indigenous organisations and individuals. Indigenous Business Month Co-Founder Michelle Evans tells us why:

“The visibility of our economic contributions needs to extend past the narrow frame of GDP statistics where the value of goods and services that are traded are counted. In practice, Indigenous businesses provide more than this – they are a major source of innovation, mentorship, leadership, cultural knowledges and practices, community and cultural kinship, unpaid childcare, and volunteer work,”

To take part in this celebration, DulcieDot would like to share stories of five deadly female-lead Indigenous businesses that have shown Indigenous ingenuity that powerhouses the economy.

Debbe Hoger of Riley Callie Resources

Debbie Hoger is the founder of Riley Callie Resources. Debbie is a Dunghutti woman and a Mum of two beautiful young children and she feels there is a great need to ensure that Indigenous culture is taught and learnt about all throughout a child's education. 

Riley Callie Resources came about from a desire to introduce young children to a fun and engaging way of learning Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) which incorporates Indigenous thinking and contexts. Riley Callie Resources firmly believe that STEM provides an ideal platform for educators to introduce children to the rich depth of knowledge and unique perspectives that Indigenous Australia has to offer.

They are passionate about providing educators with authentic Indigenous resources which make it easy to bring Indigenous perspectives into their classrooms. Using Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning which incorporates Indigenous thinking and contexts. 

Pat Mamanyjun Torres of Mayi Harvest Native Foods

Pat Mamanyjun Torres is connected to the Jabirr-Jabirr, Nyul-Nyul, Bard, Djugun, Yawuru, and Garajarri lands of Western Australia is the Owner/Director of the Mamanyjun Tree Enterprises Pty Ltd company, which features Mayi Harvest Native Foods and a cultural consultancy business called Mamanyjun Cultural Training. 

Aunty Pat, together with a dedicated group of First Nations women are passionate about the development of the Native foods industry and the teaching of Aboriginal cultural knowledge systems about plants for the preservation and maintenance of ancient cultural practices that involve plants as food and as herbal remedies.

Mayi Harvest Native Foods follow the traditional methods of wild harvesting throughout the six seasons found in the Kimberley of Western Australia. Their methods ensure a sustainable future for our community and our business and provide quality Australian native produce freshly frozen and dried native foods and we supply our products all over Australia. Mayi Harvests provides an easy access into the world of Australia's native superfoods straight to your front door.

Kayla Cartledge of Our Dilly Bag and Our Songlines 

Kayla Cartledge is a proud Gurindji woman from the Northern Territory, living on Bunurong land and the founder of Our Dilly Bag, and the umbrella brand: Our Songlines.

Our Dilly Bag empowers you to make a real impact Indigenous Australia delivered right to your door. 100% Aboriginal owned, women led, social enterprise focused on reconciliation between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people. Our Dilly Bag states the path to reconciliation is experiencing culture and adapting our mindset to new ideas. In promoting the cause, they have carefully curated a collection of vital items and experiences for any ally or First Nations person looking for empowerment.

Our Dilly Bag links you to a selection of established and emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander products. Contributing to Indigenous economy this way gets the money straight back to the artisan, creating real impact towards self-determination. 

Our Songlines focus on mindful activities that encourage cultural learnings in safe creative ways. We connect with our ancestor knowledge and provide activities based on existing knowledge, age, gender and interests. Our Songlines believe that they need to share the appreciation and increase an understanding of Indigenous culture for all of Australia and the world.

They provide mentoring and cultural education, weaving workshops and Wayapa Wuurk practice. 

Jodie Welsh-Choolburra of Brolga Dance Academy

Jodie Welsh – Choolburra is a Proud Gamilaroi and Murrawarri woman  and is the Founder and Artistic Director of Brolga Dance Academy, an Aboriginal owned and controlled business built from deep respect, passion, desire and a long-standing commitment in the Aboriginal performing arts industry and community. 

Brolga Dance Academy values Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts, culture, communities and people – their passions, their creativity, and their commitment. Brolga Dance Academy brings a familiar perspective to representation that upholds our belief that our young people and culture are the most important part of our business. As a result, we provide a space for our young people to be storytellers through body movement using fused traditional and contemporary styles. 

The Brolga is one of the most iconic birds. A number of traditional Aboriginal legends and dances are associated with the Brolga, and use movements that mimic their graceful performances. Brolgas are renowned for their elaborate dances, and we aim to be renowned for our elaborate, unique and memorable dancers and stories.

Nene Brown of Kallico Catering

Kallico Catering is unique in that not only do they offer contemporary Australian cuisine but also Indigenous bush tucker foods for the more adventurous palate. They provide complete catering packages for private family functions and events and also extensive corporate catering services including ongoing contracts.

Kallico takes the stress out of your events, always delivering catering with the same passion for quality food and outstanding presentation to make your function a success, including staff, china and cutlery, tablecloths, floral decorations, and other elements of your choice when requested.

'"There are native foods that Aboriginal people have been eating for 40,000 years so it's really important that people get to try it and enjoy the beautiful flavours that these foods have" Nene Brown on SBS 

Aunty Nene and Daryll Brown and their team have been working tirelessly throughout the lockdown providing tens of thousands of meals to support the First Nations community in need and baking treats for essential workers.   

The ingenuity of Indigenous Business owners is undeniable as evidenced by these innovative businesses, including our very own DulcieDot. Indigenous businesses have unquantifiable contributions to the economy in innovation and education. Celebrating indigenous business, however, is not exclusive in October. Year out, by promoting and/or supporting Indigenous businesses, individuals and organisations, we empower them and recognise their great significance in our nation.