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Visa Foundation's $2million support for First Nations-led businesses

David Prestipino -

A national Indigenous-led fund manager and business advisory organisation has received a $2 million boost towards supporting Indigenous businesses on their journey towards equity and opportunity.

First Australians Capital (FAC) announced the new investment from Visa Foundation on Tuesday, with the funding intended for its Catalytic Impact Fund.

FAC connects investment markets with the Indigenous economy, offering accessible, patient debt finance to support First Nations businesses and address racial inequity in Australia's finance sector.

Since 2016, FAC has worked with more than 800 businesses and leveraged more than $80m in capital to scale sustainable Indigenous businesses. Its diverse, impact-driven investments help create long-term social and environmental benefits for Indigenous businesses and communities.

Visa Foundation's financial commitment would help FAC continue its support of Indigenous businesses and enterprises and help First Nations people become economically independent, with the $2m investment channeled to its $30m Catalytic Impact Fund, from a range of long-standing and new investors.

Torres Strait Islander and Papua New Guinean man Brian Wyborn, FAC's managing partner, welcomed Visa Foundation's investment to FAC's Catalytic Impact Fund, which helps support Indigenous businesses on their towards equity and opportunity.

"This partnership represents a powerful commitment to economic empowerment and self-determination within Indigenous communities," he said.

"With Visa Foundation's investment, we continue to amplify our impact, providing vital capital and opportunities to Indigenous businesses across Australia.

"Together, we will cultivate a future where Indigenous businesses thrive, driving sustainable growth and prosperity for future generations."

Visa Foundation president Graham Macmillan said the Foundation's "core goal of supporting women and under-served entrepreneurs is reflected in our collaboration with First Australians Capital".

"As one of the few investment firms of their kind in Australia, FAC has a proven track record of deftly leveraging their resources to foster business opportunities for women and underserved entrepreneurs in Australia," he said.

"We look forward to working together and helping create a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem for all."

Visa Foundation joins other investors, including the recent investment from global technology company Block, and other long-term supporters such as the Paul Ramsey Foundation, AMP Foundation and CAGES Foundation.

Earlier this month FAC received a $500,000 seed capital grant from insurance giant QBE.

It has has been operating a $13 million concept fund since 2021, deploying $9m across 94 finance facilities.

In the financial year ending 2023, FAC supported 282 Indigenous businesses, 31 per cent of which were female-led and 52 per cent located in regional and rural locations, with the construction, arts and recreation, retail and professional services sectors the main beneficiaries.

FACs' 10-year strategy is focused on creating radical change in investment markets, with a target to triple investment in the Indigenous business sector and $1 billion in mainstream capital leveraged for investment.

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