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Masterclass attendee becomes investor in new Blak Angels initiative

Emma Ruben -

It wasn't too long ago Alisha Geary was a Dream Ventures masterclass graduate.

In 2021, the Goreng Goreng, Deibau and Wuthathi businesswoman took part in the Minderoo Foundation's Dream Venture masterclass and received a collective $170,000 from different investors.

It's led her to invest in a start-up called Provvy, which provides a platform for visual content creators who are looking to take ownership of their work through licensing, and utilising the boom in the sale of individual digital graphics dubbed non-fungible tokens.

And since then Geary has become an investor herself, joining nine other Blak business owners and entrepreneurs in becoming a Blak Angel.

Made up of ten people and dubbed the 'Blak Angels Investment Network', the initiative is for First Nations businesses led by First Nations investors and entrepreneurs.

When Geary heard about the Blak Angel initiative, she was immediately very interested.

"I believe there should be a lot more investment into Indigenous startups which I've seen can be a challenge with my own," Geary said.

"So very proud to be part of Blak Angels and to help make investment happen."

In partnership with the US Department of State, The Blak Angel initiative is one of the first investor/business models where the investors are also First Nations.

Some of the Blak Angels, representatives from Minderoo Foundation and the US Department of State. (Image: Emma Ruben)

Having had the experience sourcing investors and funds as a Blak start-up, Geary said she is now able to bring her own experiences to the table.

"I think there can be a lot of change in terms of how capital is sourced but also how entrepreneurs are vetted," she said.

"So I think this will help a lot physically because we have more of an understanding of the specific challenges that Indigenous entrepreneurs face.

"And because we have that knowledge and perspective, we have a better chance of mitigating risks that Indigenous entrepreneurs come up against so that we can help them on a journey where they become successful business people."

Personally, Geary is gearing up for the Blak Angels trip to the USA in September where she is hoping to learn from First Nations and LatinX investors in the US economic sphere.

"So one of my startups is a skincare brand where we harvest native Australian plants and marine natives for the products nad we try to harvest as much from Indigenous farmers," she said.

"So I'd love to find out what they are doing in terms of harvesting Indigenous knowledge that can be used for things like skincare.

"And anything to do with sustainability, finance and in particular the Indigenous sector as well, those are the four industries I'm interested in."

The Blak Angels will travel overseas in September of this year.

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