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The Indigenous Entrepreneur & STEM Pathways Project | Edition One

Newsletter, March 8 2022


The Indigenous Entrepreneur & STEM Pathways Project works to generate a significant increase in the participation of First Nations women in the native ag + food industry. We're aiming to create processes with a measurable impact that promote lasting, systemic change.

Why? We are faced with a challenge:

  • Only 0.2% of Australian businesses are operated by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women, while First Nations representation across the native ag + food industry is less than 2%

  • Indigenous women face multiple barriers to participation as a result of their gender, cultural background, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status

  • This reduces their opportunities to secure economic, health, cultural and social benefits for themselves and their communities

We see it like this:

If we Significantly increase the participation of Indigenous women in the native ag + food sector By Equipping Indigenous girls and women with the confidence, knowledge and entrepreneurial skills needed to launch new ventures and/or participate in STEM-based careers Over time Indigenous women will be empowered to lead in the growth of the native ag + food sector Which will Create a more sustainable native ag + food sector and have a positive impact on the lives of Indigenous women and communities


The Pathways

To make this happen, we're using an integrated pathways framework, which is intended to illuminate the journey for Indigenous girls and women from their earliest interest in the cultural connections that working in native ag + food can provide, through to realising their aspirations to build a career or create a successful and impactful business. The pathways include:

1. Schools Awareness & Inspiration Stream: for Indigenous girls in high school from Year 9 until they transition into the workforce

2. Native Agrifood Entrepreneur Stimulus Stream: for Indigenous women at university and in the TAFE system

3. Entrepreneur Success Stream: for Indigenous women interested in or already involved in the sector


"We have our eye on the same destination – a sustainable future where Indigenous people are recognised for their wisdom and honoured for their culture"

- Jackie Huggins, Co-chair National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples



After initial discussions and consultation with key stakeholders from the Indigenous community, educational institutions and the native ag + food sector, we have now established 5 regional Project Hubs! The process of forming the regional hubs has meant that we now have more than 45 key stakeholders, with representation from a variety of groups including Indigenous communities, organisations and Elders, Indigenous business owners and entrepreneurs, local schools, TAFE and universities, regional economic development agencies, industry groups and local business and local and state government.

The hubs are located in:

  • Central Coast NSW

  • Central NSW

  • Gippsland VIC

  • Riverland SA

  • Tropical North Queensland

Each hub currently has a portfolio of projects that are based on a deep understanding of the needs of Indigenous girls and women in their region.


We're thrilled to have been able to support 7 First Nations female-led businesses through the project - and you can learn more about their work at the links below:


We have also formed a project advisory group who oversee and provide insight and advice on the project. We're guided by the input of its five fantastic members, including:


We'd like to acknowledge Charles Sturt University and Australian Native Food and Botanicals, our wonderful foundation partners.

We would also like to acknowledge Moama Bowling Club and Sensient, two of our fantastic corporate sponsors who have committed funding to the project. Thank you for your ongoing support.


  • Chocolate on Purpose™, one of the First Nations and female-led businesses supported by the project, has just launched their first crowdfunding campaign with StartSomeGood. You can read more about their campaign and support their work at the link here.

  • Rulla's Cooking on Country, a new tv special from the ABC, is "about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and how the nation's landscape has acted as a greenhouse and larder for Indigenous Australians for thousands of years". ABC News

  • The Conversation emphasised the need for insight from First Nations people in Australia's agriculture sector and outlined a range of practical ways to get there. The Conversation

  • The Good Food recipe collection for using native Australian produce at home. Good Food

  • The First Nations-led Indigenous Grasslands for Grain project explores the commercial viability of Australian native grasses and grains. ABC News


This project received grant funding from the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science Energy and Resources through the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship Round 3 program

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present.

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