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Tech billionaire pours $3 million into First Nation businesses

Brendan Foster -

American tech billionaire Jack Dorsey has pledged $3million to First Nation businesses.

The investment into First Australians Capital (FAC) - a national Indigenous-led fund manager dedicated to helping Indigenous entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses - came through Dorsey's global technology company Block.

FAC which offers debt finance of between $100,000 and $2 million for Indigenous-led businesses creating social and environmental impact has previously had to rely on unsuitable financial products from banks.

Mr Dorsey, the former CEO of Twitter, was recently in Melbourne to meet with the FAC team and finalise the funding which was Block's first social impact investment in Australia.

Block set up the $100m social impact investment fund in 2020 to support minority and underserved communities.

"I'm thrilled that we can make our first social impact investment here with First Australians Capital, an organisation dedicated to helping Indigenous-led businesses find better solutions to thrive," Mr Dorsey said.

"We know first-hand that many people are left out of the economy by mainstream services, that's why our business exists, so it's great to find a partner equally aligned to financial inclusion."

FAC Managing Partner Brian Wyborn said the Indigenous business sector could be a powerful economic contributor to community and inter-generational wealth creation for First Australians.

"We are delighted to have Block onboard as an investment partner for our new fund that will help us expand critical scale-up support services to even more Indigenous-led businesses across Australia," he said.

The founder of the non-alcoholic beverage brand Sobah, Dr Clinton Shultz, knows first-hand the success that can be achieved with the right support.

"The capital and services we have been able to access through our partnership with FAC has been a game-changer for our business, with our products now sold at hundreds of retailers across the country." he said.

"Accessing capital remains a huge challenge for Indigenous entrepreneurs who want to grow so this investment is a huge vote of confidence for our business sector, and our broader community, at a time when we need it most."

Since 2016, FAC has worked with over 800 First Nations businesses, and leveraged more than $70million in capital to scale sustainable Indigenous businesses.

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