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Muru-D to host startup workshops for indigenous Australians, says that’s just the start

Broede Carmody /

Sydney-based startup accelerator muru-D is looking to give indigenous Australians a leg-up when it comes to turning their business idea into a fully-fledged technology company.

 

The national accelerator, which is backed by Telstra, will hold a free two-day workshop in July at the Coder Factory in Redfern.

 

The aim of the Path to Digital workshop is to help people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent explore entrepreneurship and see launching a startup as a viable career path.

 

Annie Parker, co-founder of muru-D, told StartupSmart the accelerator’s name comes from an indigenous word, muru, for ‘road’ or ‘path’ – however, to date no one of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent has come through the program.

 

“I wanted to fix that or understand why it isn’t happening,” she says.

 

“We’ve been doing lean startup training all across the country for 18 months now with the help of Pollenizer and there isn’t a huge amount of training for people who do want to be entrepreneurs – whether they’re from indigenous communities or not. So we decided instead of going out there and finding a specific startup, how about we invest in the indigenous community by investing in some pre-training.”

 

Parker says the sessions will be free and it doesn’t matter what level of experience participants have.

 

“It could just be a germ of an idea,” she says.

 

“We just want to harness that excitement and enthusiasm and give them some of the training, skills and experience they’ll need to build that idea out to be a fully-formed business, a fully-formed startup concept. And ideally we’d like to welcome those entrepreneurs into the next class of muru-D, class three… I think it will just be the start of what we can do. We’re here to stay anyway, so the more we can do to help indigenous communities the better.”

 

The chief executive of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, Jason Glanville, previously told StartupSmart technology and culture go hand-in-hand.

 

“Culture matters and it matters in all things,” he said.

 

“We need to get past this fear that digital spaces are against culture. It’s unavoidable that we all need to get better with how we engage with the digital space.”

 

Glanville says it is important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to get involved in startups and software because digital technologies create genuine economic opportunities.

 

“I’d encourage all blackfellas – but in particularly young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders – to not lose the opportunity that’s presented by the digital space and not to be driven by digital opportunities, but to drive digital opportunities that suit them, their communities and culture.”

 

The free workshop will run from July 25-26. Tickets can be booked here.

 

Do you know more on this story or have a tip of your own? Raising capital or launching a startup? Let us know. Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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Broede Carmody

Broede Carmody is a former senior SmartCompany reporter. Before this, he was a co-editor of RMIT University's student magazine Catalyst.

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