A new Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) partnership is set to unlock the entrepreneurial talent of Indigenous women across the East Kimberley, Western Australia.

The CRCNA has partnered with local group Kimberley Jiyigas (KJ) and Westpac Banking Corporation to develop and deliver a grass-roots self-development and self-employment skills program, aimed at building the business capabilities and capacity for emerging and aspiring Indigenous women across the region.

KJ Managing Director Natasha Short said over the next 15 months, the Self-Development and Self-Employment Enhancer Circle (SDSE) program will support small groups of Indigenous women as they learn about business and money basics.

“Our program supports women as they learn about how to balance life and work stresses and how they can take their business idea and turn it into a sustainable, profitable business or job opportunity.

“It’s also about providing women with skills and tools to navigate business and money management to support long-term success,” she said.

CRCNA CEO Anne Stünzner said the organisation was committed to supporting the program, which promises to be much more than your “average” business course.

“Throughout this program, Natasha and her team will use their skills to implement a culturally appropriate training model to help women grow in confidence and skills.

“Developing the capability of Indigenous women across the East Kimberley is about ensuring women and their families are best placed to access emerging economic development opportunities.

“The CRCNA is investing more than $5 million across northern Western Australia in agriculture, aquaculture, water and health research, development and extension work.

“We want to ensure the local community shares in the future employment and business opportunities that will grow from established and emerging industries and the RD&E investment from the CRCNA,” she said.

Westpac’s National Head of Indigenous Banking Suzi Hullick said Westpac is proud to be working alongside Kimberley Jiyigas and the CRCNA to help women across the East Kimberley bring their business ideas to life.

“I visited Kalumburu last year for an economic roundtable and I was impressed with the ideas I heard coming from local women who wanted to start their own businesses. I am very passionate about this program and helping support Kimberley women to build a better future,” she said.

To ensure the effective roll out of the program, Kimberley Jiyigas have engaged experienced program manager Christy Van Der Heyden of HOOSH Designs to coordinate the delivery of the SDSE Enhancer Circle.

The SDSE Enhancer Circle program is targeting up to 20 women to participate in face to face, small group and virtual education and training sessions, culminating in an On Country Camp in September 2022 and a conference mid-2023.

Any women interested in participating in the program are encouraged to complete the application form here.

Media enquiries

Carla Keith | CRCNA General Manager |0499 330 051