The inaugural Indigenous Emerging Business Forum (IEBF) saw hundreds of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal businesswomen and men gather for a day of networking and learning.

Facilitated by the Telstra Business Technology Centre (TBTC) Perth North last Friday, the forum had a successful trade show with a number of businesses not only trading business cards but knowledge for the future too.

A range of keynote presentations throughout the day covered topics like connectivity, technology, digital literacy, representation and accountability.

Six Seasons Australia founder Phil Narkle with a trade booth visitor. Photo by Hannah Cross.

In his keynote presentation, TBTC Perth North Enterprise Group Manager John O’Driscoll said the primary motivation for creating such a forum was to elevate Indigenous businesses.

“We really want to make this [forum] about the Aboriginal businesses that attended,” he said.

“We want Aboriginal businesses to succeed.”

The IEBF also put Aboriginal businesses including Boya Group, Red Spear and Oaks Civil Construction front and centre to take part in a panel discussing the highlights and pitfalls of business.

Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls of Oaks Civil Construction networking at the trade show. Photo by Hannah Cross.

Toward the end of the forum, attendees celebrated successful businesspeople with a range of awards.

Outstanding Impact of the Year went to Dawn Wallam, CEO of WA’s only Aboriginal foster care agency.

Part-owner of Indigenous occupation health provider Spartan First, Olivia Tassone took home Emerging Businesswoman of the Year and Dr Rishelle Hume took home Businesswoman of the Year for her work through Chevron’s Aboriginal Workforce Inclusion and Development Strategy.

Sport ambassadors received a huge shout out with Binar Sports head Adam Desmond winning Community Ambassador of the Year, Hockeyroo Mariah Williams winning Sports Ambassador of the Year (female) and Fremantle Dockers player Michael ‘Sonny’ Walters winning Sports Ambassador of the Year (male).

By Hannah Cross