Indigenous Students given a taste for Business

By Rebecca Harcourt  Friday, 1 February 2019  @Business School

Professor Chris Styles, Vice President of Australian Business Deans Council and Dean of UNSW Business School, Matt Lancaster Relationships Manager Indigenous Accountants Australia and Rebecca Harcourt Program Manager Indigenous Business Education UNSW Business School, Tyrese Carr-White, Jacinta Elemes, Matthew Fatnowna, Thomson Felming, Breann Fogarty, Sherrika Gilbert, Francise (Namai) Glanville, Jovi Charles Highman-Smith, Latoya-Sharnae Jones, Seamus King-Smith, Max Lambie, Xian Lane, Billie Lui, Jesse Mills, Afton Penrith, Kiara Fing, Joseph Quinn, Tuqiri Swan-Carr, Stephanie Towns, Beyanca Simon, Erica Jade Accoom, Charlotte Bridge, Masae Buie

From 13-18 January 2019 UNSW Business School hosted the second National Indigenous Business Summer School (NIBSS 2019), an initiative of the Australian Business Deans Council. The goal was to provide a fully immersive experience for Indigenous high school students thinking of entering the world of business or becoming an entrepreneur.

Twenty-three Indigenous high school students travelled from far and wide, including from Nhulunbuy, Weipa, Mt Isa, Warraber Island, Walgett, Lennox Head, Perth, Ipswich, Tweed Heads, Bulima, Broken Hill, Herbaton, Dernacourt, and Mount Riverview. For some this was their first time in Sydney.
 
Throughout the week participants had the opportunity to engage and learn from current UNSW Indigenous business students, alumni, and advisors, including Indigenous industry leaders, entrepreneurs and business practitioners who were instrumental in the co-design and delivery of this year’s program.
 
Participants brought their own agency, ideas and shared knowledge to the table through integrated cultural, business and design workshops and experiences across various settings and environments. As Shelley Cable, Senior Consultant with PwC's Indigenous Consulting, commented:

“Thanks for giving us the opportunity to spend such quality time with NIBSS 2019 participants and mentors… the students exceeded all expectations - I think the delivery team were inspired just as much as they were”

Throughout NIBSS 2019 participants explored nuances of culture, community, technology and entrepreneurship, their learning crystallised through the Sprint Challenge. In groups, participants pitched an initiative they had developed for one of 3 communities: Campbelltown, Bathurst or Woorabinda. They drew on relationships, knowledge, culture and innovation to strengthen and determine community, economic and social empowerment.

Our five NIBSS 2019 judges – Professor Mark Uncles, UNSW Business School Deputy Dean (Education); Associate Professor of Leadership Michelle Evans, Program Director MURRA Indigenous Business Master Class Program University of Melbourne; Liam Harte, CEO of Integrity Health & Safety & AGSM alumni; PIC Senior Consultant, Shelley Cable; Professor Nick Wailes, Deputy Dean, Director AGSM – were highly impressed with the deliberation and engagement of participants and the tenacity with which they fielded questions from the floor.

NIBSS 2019 culminated in a Celebration Dinner emceed by two of our UNSW Indigenous business school alumni, Dylan Booth and Mitchell Heritage. With live entertainment by UNSW songster Bridget Cama, a UNSW Indigenous Arts/Law graduate, accompanied by Abbey Burke, a UNSW Indigenous Business school student & mentor, on acoustic guitar.

President of the Australian Business Deans Council and Pro-Vice Chancellor at Griffith University, Professor David Grant, gave an inspiring address where he highlighted the commitment and vision of Business Deans from across the Country to engage and invest in in partnership with Indigenous leaders across 3 key initiatives to support the growing success of Indigenous entrepreneurship.

Yielding effective results through true partnership and investment in business education was further realised in each of the talks at the Celebration Dinner. Dylan and Mitchell each poignantly shared their journeys from when in high school they had participated in the UNSW Indigenous Winter School business program and UNSW Indigenous Pre-Business Program. Revealing the profound effect navigating the many challenges and opportunities across university, with Community, their families and professionally, where both drew on their experiences and skills to ‘walk in two worlds’ and create impact in both. Matt Lancaster, Relationships Manager Indigenous Accountants Australia, in a heartfelt address personified his multifaceted journey and the importance of belonging and giving back.                                            
 
NIBSS 2019 participants Cooper Whitehead and Billie Lui’s speeches shared insights of their experience encapsulating the energy, excitement and gratitude evident in the room, not least through the deepening friendships built throughout the week.

Inter-generational success was epitomised by luminary keynote speakers: Terri Janke and Tamina Pitt, Mother and Daughter each trailblazers of their generation.

Tamina Pitt, a Wuthathi/Meriam woman currently studying Computer Engineering at UNSW is passionate about increasing Indigenous participation and inclusion in the technology industry. A Director with Indigitek, a community for Indigenous people with a passion for tech, Tamina has completed two Software Engineering internships at Google and in 2018, she was awarded the National NAIDOC Youth of the Year.
 
Tamina reflected on the five years since she graduated from high school, the challenges and opportunities she has undertaken, and the importance of trying new things, following your own path, changing course where needed, and seeking advice and support along the way.

Terri Janke, Solicitor Director BA/LLB (UNSW) is a Wuthathi/Meriam woman from Cairns. She empowers Indigenous people by advising on legal matters, including incorporation, joint ventures, procurement, governance, employment and engagement. She is an international authority on Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) and has written significant protocols and ICIP models in the film, arts, museum and archival sectors. She is a valued mentor, an advocate for Indigenous rights, an accredited mediator and governance expert. 

Amongst her numerous national, international awards and accomplishments in 2018 Terri was recognised by CEO magazine as one of Australia's top 10 leading businesswomen who are breaking ground in their industries. Terri’s humble, witty, inclusive and engaging speech inspired us all.
 
UNSW Business School Dean, Professor Chris Styles, together with Matt Lancaster and myself presented each participant with a Certificate of Achievement. The Celebration Dinner culminated with judges Professor Mark Uncles and Shelley Cable sharing insights and announcing the winners of the 2019 NIBSS Business Sprint Challenge: Seamus King-Smith, Erica Accoom, Charlotte Bridge, Jesse Mills.

We are indebted to the many Indigenous Elders, community members, role models and organisations who were consulted and engaged with for NIBSS 2019,  including: La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council; Randwick City Council; Goanna Hut, Indigitek, Apple, PWC Indigenous Consulting, Tribal Warrior, NSW Indigenous Chambers of Commerce, Goanna Solutions, Inception, Maritime Museum, Terri Janke & Co. NSW Transport, Indigenous Accountants Australia, EY, Commonwealth Bank, Two Point & Co, NGNY, IDX, Indigispace, Accor Hotels, New College, Nura Gili, University of Melbourne, Macquarie University, University of Western Australia, University of Queensland and University of Canberra.  
 
Special gratitude and kudos to UNSW Indigenous business students and alumni: Shaun Wright, Jay Edwards, Abbey Burke, Taine Martin Ariel Booth, Tanisha Laffitani, Dylan Booth, Mitchell Heritage, Leanne Howard and Matthew Lancaster who were instrumental as NIBSS 2019 co designers, facilitators and mentors, and to UNSW Indigenous Arts Law graduate Jake Fing and UNSW professional staff Lizzy Mayers,  Edwina Hine, Katrina Smith, Suzanne Strauh, Paul Macmullen, and Hashinda Silva, all of whom went above and beyond. Equally the continuing commitment and investment by the Australian Business Deans Council and UNSW Business School.
 
Most of all, heartfelt congratulations to all the NIBSS 2019 Deadly Entrepreneurs who, whichever path they choose to take next, can be richly proud of all they have achieved to date.

© Rebecca Harcourt
Program Manager Indigenous Business Education
UNSW Business School 


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