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Visa Foundation backs Good Return to support Indigenous entrepreneurs

Phoebe Blogg -

Australian not-for-profit Good Return has joined forces with the Indigenous-led group Kimberley Jiyigas to support sustainable change within the Indigenous community.

The result of this teamwork was the Maganda Makers Business Club, an innovative collective where experienced Indigenous businesswomen guide, nurture and upskill emerging women entrepreneurs. With the use of role models and provision of upskilling with shared resources, networks and connections, it enables personal and professional growth to create and sustain their businesses.

The Maganda Makers Business Club is led by Natasha Short, Managing Director of Kimberley Jiyigas, a Jaru Woman from the East Kimberley. Ms Short brings her understanding of the social, cultural and economic dynamics of the Kimberley region and the women who live and work there.

"These are resourceful and talented women who are determined to be influencers of social change regionally, nationally and internationally. We now have almost 200 club members, who are running businesses in the arts, food and catering, hospitality, mining services and much more," she said.

Member of the Maganda Makers club Jodie Bedford. (Image: supplied)

Ms Short's leadership and vision are further supported by an innovative collaboration with the founding members, including Good Return and Sir Robert Menzies Foundation for Leadership.

New funding from Visa Foundation will enable the club to expand further into two new remote regions in Australia and reach even more women. The grant will also support the establishment of a new initiative that provides financial assistance to club members to help grow their businesses. These programs will enable more Indigenous business women to achieve empowerment through entrepreneurship.

Visa Foundation President Graham Macmillan said the organisation is "committed to supporting inclusive economies where individuals and communities can thrive".

"We believe in Good Return's mission and are honoured to help support them as they uplift many ambitious and capable Indigenous women to realise their personal potential and be role models for future generations," he said.

Maganda Makers club mentor Sally Martin. (Image: supplied)

Good Return brings over 20 years of experience in building financial inclusion through localised approaches across Asia and the Pacific.

Good Return CEO Shane Nichols said the group is "passionate about a world where all people have access to resources and opportunities to improve their lives".

"The Maganda Makers Business Club pilot has shown us that, even in a remote location with limited financial resources and infrastructure, strong and inspiring women can flourish and their families and communities have benefited from this. We are excited about the next stage in this program and are immensely grateful to Visa Foundation for their support in making it happen," he said.

With a significant amount of Indigenous women in Australia facing immense challenges when trying to establish and grow their own business, this initiative and funding is hoping to create economic opportunity, all whilst being led by local First Nations women who understand the unique approach to business in Indigenous culture.

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