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IBA Media Release: Empowered Results for First Nations Women

IBA Media Release: Empowered Results for First Nations Women

Posted 02 July 2024
  • Delivery of $2.7 million in funding through 28 partnerships with 23 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social enterprises.
  • Partnerships supported 560 First Nations female participants.
  • 21% of programs delivered in very remote and 14% in remote locations across Australia.

Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), with support from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, delivered $2.7 million of funding to social enterprises run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, with outcomes specifically for women, girls and sistergirls. The partnerships transformed both the small businesses involved and the communities they supported.

Launched in January 2023, IBA established and worked 23 First Nations social enterprises over 16 months.

The partnerships were established to support the delivery of a range of programs including assisting First Nations women and girls prepare for employment preparation or start or grow their own businesses.

Key focus areas for the programs also included business development, financial literacy, wellbeing, and upskilling/training.

Participants overwhelmingly stated that these programs supported their confidence in taking the next step in their journey and empowering them to feel confident and make decisions.

One of the 28 programs delivered provided hope for First Nations women confronted with the impact of lateral violence.

Woolwonga and Kukatj woman, raised on Larrakia and Yolngu land, Lateesha Jeffrey, has firsthand experience and knowledge about the devastating impact of lateral violence on First Nations people and communities. Building on her own resilience, Lateesha created the ‘Lateral Empowerment’ program delivered through her business, Wave of Change Consultancy.

From Tennant Creek, and Groote Eylandt to Galiwin’ku, Lateesha and her team successfully worked with women and girls from 14 different remote and very remote locations to give them reflective tools to cut through the dark sides of lateral violence and inspire and uplift one another.

“Participants are provided the safe space to practice reflection, whilst also empowering responsibility and accountability towards changing the negative narrative, instilling principles of lateral empowerment for future generations.”

“The power of this program,” Lateesha said, “is that by capturing what makes the participants feel safe to connect, share and learn, we created a ripple effect because the women understood how to support and uplift others within their community to eventually stop lateral violence altogether.”

Stella de Cos, Southern Arrernte woman and IBA Director of Community and Customer Experience, led the team that oversaw the partnerships and says the program resulted in positive change for our women around the country.

“These partnerships brought an amazing opportunity for First Nations female entrepreneurs and female-led community organisations to continue to innovate and solve economic safety issues facing First Nations women and their communities.

“Women are the strongest pillars of many of our First Nations communities. Empowering them builds opportunities to continue the positive impact and the change they drive.”

Media contact: Tara Toohill 02 9207 6362 or tara.toohill@iba.gov.au