Women in Business

  • Written by Ben Starick

Kinaway Chamber of Commerce has put a call out for passionate female role models to mentor and guide almost 150 Victorian-based Aboriginal female business owners in their Sistas in Business program.

“We’re seeking a diverse range of female business mentors who are enthusiastic to share their expertise and experience, give honest and direct feedback and support to business owners. We are looking for people who are able to volunteer a minimum of 15 hours over a 9-month period,” said Liz Liddle, Kinaway Economic Development Manager.

“Our members are keen to connect with successful business owners across a range of industries to help boost their confidence and build capability. They want support and advice about successes and failures as well as opportunities to improve their knowledge, networks and leadership skills.

“Running a business is challenging, especially when trading during the pandemic. Participating in mentoring can be a very rewarding experience with learnings to be gained from mentees as well as mentors,” explained Liddle.

The number of female Aboriginal business owners in Victoria is rapidly growing and diversifying as they make a valuable contribution to the Victorian economy. 

The Aboriginal business sector has evolved far beyond tourism, creative arts and natural resource management. It includes social and community enterprises, for-profit businesses as well as micro and small-to-medium enterprises.

Aboriginal female businesswomen in the Kinaway Sistas in Business program include:

Niyoka Bundle who owns Pawa Catering provides corporate catering for breakfast, lunch, platters, canapes (savoury and sweet) as well as pizza kits and a new gin, Taka Gin Co., inspired by a range of Indigenous fusion flavours and botanicals.

Bonnie Chew
who owns Mirriyu Cultural Consulting provides services across mental health first aid, Aboriginal cultural heritage management, reconciliation action planning, incarceration, genealogy, health and education. 

Lee Couch
who owns L.A. Couch works across mindfulness, health, wellness and regression therapy. Lee is an accredited meditation teacher, earth educator, personal development facilitator and also works within school education settings.

Domica Hill
who owns Briar Blooms offers dried and preserved natural flower arrangements, a range of botanicals, products and gift ideas as well as original artwork, print collections and other décor created By Meeka.

Corina Muir
who owns Amber Days, an ethical children’s wear label that aims to use certified organic fabrics and quality natural fabrics. They collaborate with Aboriginal artists to produce original fabrics and designs.

Jadah Pleiter
who owns Panku Safety Solutions, supplies PPE safety equipment and workwear, first aid kits and other COVID-19 supplies. They also offer Heart2Heart training programs in first aid and mental health. 

Annette Sax
who owns Yarn Strong Sista specialises in early childhood development training, workshops for children and Aboriginal education resources. Yarn Strong Brutha offers a range Aboriginal fashion, homewares and ceramics.

Nicole Stewart who owns Gerrbik, Australia’s first Aboriginal-owned domestic and commercial laundry service founded in 1979. They provide services to international and domestic airlines, hospitality venues, universities and government departments.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics Census data identified that:

  • Between 2006 and 2016 the number Aboriginal female business owners in Victoria doubled.
  • In 2016, there were 404 Aboriginal female business owners in Victoria. 
  • 18% of Victorian Aboriginal businesses provide services in the key growth industries of health, education and professional services.
Kinaway Chamber of Commerce support and advise Aboriginal businesses in Victoria through policy, advocacy and representation; and help improve visibility, strengthen networks and create opportunities. Kinaway represent a membership of 378 certified Aboriginal businesses in Victoria – 155 are Aboriginal female-led businesses who are part of the Sistas in Business program.

Kinaway Sistas in Business mentoring program  
Mentor applications close: Monday, 12 July 2021
Mentor program: August 2021 – April 2022

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