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From hot desking to business leads: Inside a First Nations entrepreneur hub

 

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A First Nations start-up hub called The Circle/First Nations Entrepreneur Hub has been created in Kaurna Country/South Australia to give businesses support, mentorship and desk space. The First Nations Foundation spoke to the Circle’s operations manager Kelly May about what the space and project is all about.

SNAPSHOT

What is it? A First Nations entrepreneur hub in Kaurna Country/South Australia

Who created it? The Circle is an initiative of the Adelaide City Deal; which is a partnership between the South Australian and Australian Governments.

What does it offer? Hot desking, advice for members, referrals, networking and more.

Who can join? Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business owners or prospective business owners living in South Australia can join for free.

When was it launched? August, 2021

What sort of services does The Circle offer?

The Circle delivers a physical and virtual support platform which links First Nations businesses to industry and business development opportunities.

The Service Model envelopes 5 pillars of support; with a range of services aimed to provide holistic support and respond to key challenges identified by the First Nations business sector. These pillars are:

  • business development support
  • access to new markets
  • expert business advice
  • capability and capacity building; and
  • the physical hub.

The Circle Hub offers members access to hot desks, meeting rooms and business facilities in a culturally safe place to be innovative, connect with others and conduct their business from a central, well-equipped and professional location.

What sort of businesses/entrepreneurs have signed up since the Circle opened? 

The Circle currently has more than 90 members from various regions across South Australia.

Members represent businesses from a range of different industries including building and construction, defence, education, creative industries, tourism, hi-tech, retail, food and beverage, and health to list a few.

The Circle’s members are at various stages of their business journey, seeking different levels of engagement and support.

Why was the Circle established/what need does it recognise? 

In the early stages of design, a scoping, research and consultation process identified key gaps and support opportunities for First Nations entrepreneurs in South Australia, including:

  • need for Aboriginal specific business support services or services at early stages of the start-up lifecycle
  • removal of high access barriers and low visibility of existing pathways to support
  • need for clarity and confidence in the availability and suitability of existing services
  • greater connectivity, genuine relationships to opportunities, and access to new markets for the First Nations business sector.

What has the response been from members so far? 

The Circle receives regular feedback from its members articulating how valuable and necessary the services are to the sector, and the resulting tangible economic outcomes.

Membership feedback is critical to designing and delivering fit-for-purpose solutions within The Circle’s suite of programs.

Kelly May is the operations manager at the Circle. For more information, visit: https://www.thecircle.sa.gov.au/

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