New export mentoring program launched for Aboriginal businesses

09 Dec 2021
A new program aimed at Aboriginal businesses, has been launched to support businesses with mentors from the Department for Trade and Investment to help them grow their companies through export or investment.

Picture: First Nations Export Mentoring branding developed by Indigenous artist Alysha Menzel
The First Nations Export Mentoring initiative is delivered over 12 months, to support six Aboriginal businesses, all at various stages of their growth and export journey, with one-on-one mentoring sessions that will provide valuable and bespoke advice to the businesses.
The mentoring program will be invaluable in providing support to Aboriginal-owned businesses looking to grow their footprint nationally or internationally.
The First Nations Export Mentoring Program will provide participating companies with direct access to people within the Department for Trade and Investment that can support them on an individual, case by case basis to ensure they get the right support, guidance and advice to suit their business needs.
This is the first time such a bespoke and niche mentoring program for Aboriginal businesses has been delivered. 
The idea of the program is to provide tailored support, through mentoring, to the businesses in order for them to think about their growth plan and how they can access new markets, whether those markets are interstate or overseas, as well as the potential to seek investment or partnership opportunities to help them expand.
The mentors from the Department have been selected because of their vast experience in their chosen fields of endeavour and will provide seamless support to these businesses.
Totem Wifi, run by Managing Director, Tony Coppins, is looking to identify potential telecommunication partners and will be supported by one of the department’s advisers with experience in the telecommunication industry.
“Growth and business development is key for our business as we are looking to secure long-term business relationships with government and private sectors,” Mr Coppins said. 

“Growing Aboriginal employment and helping other Aboriginal entrepreneurs get into the market with our leadership and support is also something we hope to achieve.

“A good telecommunications partner is key for this in our business growth. We need to align ourselves with good Australian and international businesses in our sector.”

The Aboriginal businesses participating in the First Nations Mentoring Program include:

  • Totem Wifi - run by Tony Coppins and is looking to identify potential telecommunication partners and will be supported by one of the department’s advisers with experience in the telecommunication industry.
  • Pundi Produce - organically grows Australian native fruit, vegetables and herbs that are cultivated in a sustainable way – Dominic Smith is the face of Pundi and will be working with the department’s export adviser for the Riverland region.
  • Pwerle Gallery - founded in 2015 by Jade Torres, the daughter of the internationally renowned and respected art dealer, Fred Torres. Jade will work with the department’s export adviser for international markets to promote and grow her business internationally.
  • Yindi Arts/Excess Fit - is owned by De Greer-Yindimincarlie and produces authentic Aboriginal creations. Ms Greer-Yindimincarlie will be mentored on ways to grow her businesses.
  • Nood Australia - is owned by Anthony Wilson and supplies a natural, sustainable and environmentally friendly range of cleaning products, personal care and home care products. Mr Wilson will be provided guidance on understanding the opportunities available and the costs related to exporting.
  • Edoardo Crismani - freelance filmmaker, photographer, videographer, writer and composer – Edoardo’s mentor has a background in filming and an understanding of converting filmmaking opportunities into commercial products.
The First Nations Mentoring Program kicked off on 9 December 2021 and will run for 12 months.
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