A blog from Dr Michelle Evans, Program Director of the MURRA Indigenous Business Masterclass Program
“A central element of a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem is the encouraging and celebration of success. These showcasing events, such as Indigenous Business Month, grab the broader public’s attention for a moment to put forward a range of new stories about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.” – Dr Michelle Evans
There are so many things to do to build the Indigenous entrepreneurship ecosystem – creating capital options for Indigenous businesses, further leveraging gains made on the Indigenous Procurement Policy, growing bigger businesses and encouraging more new businesses – so why is the second Indigenous Business Month focusing on celebrating leadership?
Leadership in our sector is critical. We need to showcase the excellence and success of Indigenous business across our diverse ecosystem – large businesses, international businesses, cultural businesses, family businesses, joint ventures, community controlled businesses, social enterprises, profitable businesses. A central element of a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem is the encouraging and celebration of success. These showcasing events, such as Indigenous Business Month, grab the broader public’s attention for a moment to put forward a range of new stories about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Let me share a MURRA success story that I love to talk about and why I think we need to celebrate this mazing young woman’s leadership.
Many of you who know me will know how passionate I am about encouraging young people into business and having great role models for our children to look up to. One young dynamic woman, Rebecca Blurton, did MURRA in Generation 3 (2014). Rebecca now runs three companies/organisations – the national Indigenous Women in Business, Moorditj a manufacturing and supply business, and If it’s Style You Want (Rebecca’s personal styling business).
Rebecca is a leader. She puts herself forward for opportunities, she creates her own opportunities, she tries and if she fails she gets up again and tries again.
Rebecca said to me, ‘I love wheeling and dealing, I love it, and negotiating, like, tell me why you don’t want to get involved with my business, let’s talk about that!’
Rebecca’s confidence should not be mistaken for arrogance, on the contrary, Rebecca spends a lot of her ‘free’ time mentoring young Aboriginal women and girls and working on structural problems, like her idea for the Indigenous Business Month Melbourne Hackathon. Rebecca saw a problem – difficulty in accessing information about Indigenous scholarships and awards – so she has devised an event to bring philanthropists, Aboriginal youth, educators, businesses and software developers into a room to make something happen to address this problem.
Leadership is fundamentally about creating change. Rebecca Blurton is one fine example of an Indigenous business leader making a difference through her personal commitment to Aboriginal young people, her entrepreneurial spirit and her innovative approach to addressing difficult problems.
When leadership becomes just about positional power we disengage from this kind of leadership and we tend to see the idea of leadership as being the problem. How about this month you look at the inspirational everyday acts of leadership all around you, including your own attempts to empower and uphold others. This month I’m celebrating leadership in the Indigenous business sector in all it’s different ways of manifesting.