First Nations Business Growth Program set to back businesses

American Express, in partnership with Rare Birds have announced the inaugural First Nations Business Growth Program, supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business leaders. 

The pilot program will see 20 Supply Nation Certified businesses receive backing from American Express and Rare Birds in mentorship, masterclasses and virtual networking events. 

American Express and Rare Birds’ First Nations program

Stephen Pendergast, Vice President American Express said, “The First Nations Business Growth Program is about supporting financial resilience within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business community and celebrating their contribution to our diverse neighbourhoods.” 

87% of mentees feel more confident about their business capability after participating in a mentoring program, with 91% stating their business will grow further next year.

Mentoring supports real-time development with 81% of businesses reporting growth and 43% of operators employing staff throughout the program. 

Jo Burston, CEO Rare Birds said,“High-impact mentoring is the ‘MBA of Life Skills’. It is a hard-learned experience that’s passed on through one-to-one open and trusting dialogue.” 

Former Rare Birds mentee Leah Cameron, Principal Solicitor Marrawah Law Pty Ltd, advocates the value of mentoring as the First Nations Business Growth Program Ambassador.

“I found my mentoring program incredibly beneficial for both my personal growth and for my business development. Not only did I learn invaluable skills, but I also gained confidence.”

“I am delighted to be the Program’s ambassador.” 

Supply Nation welcomes American Express

Supply Nation is the custodian of Australia’s leading database of Indigenous businesses.

Since 2009, Supply Nation works  with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses along with government and corporate procurement teams to shape the Indigenous business sector. 

State of Indigenous Business report that reviewed COVID-19’s impact on the business sector in 2020, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business owners face barriers to inclusion.

The rapid marketplace digitisation has widened the divide but also presents an opportunity to support First Nations businesses with essential knowledge and resources to grow.

The report states Indigenous businesses are calling for greater support and connection to industry through initiatives such as mentoring programs.

“We welcome American Express’ mentoring initiative and opportunities that allow our businesses to leverage expertise across industries,” said Supply Nation’s CEO Laura Berry.   

Stephen Pendergast added, “The First Nations Business Growth Program is part of American Express’ ongoing commitment to closing the inequality gap and to driving inclusive initiatives as we continue our Reconciliation Action Plan journey.”