Business excellence and leadership in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community will be celebrated throughout October during the second annual Indigenous Business Month.
"Indigenous entrepreneurs, both individually and as a group, provide acts of leadership every day, from working with clients, communities and consumers, to creating new market opportunities and income streams," said Ms Michelle Evans, Associate Professor of Leadership at Charles Sturt University (CSU) and Director of the MURRA Program which educates and promotes Indigenous business leaders and entrepreneurs.
The theme of Indigenous Business Month in 2016 is 'Celebrating Leadership'.
"During October, we celebrate all forms of leadership across the diverse Indigenous business sector in Australia," Professor Evans said.
"We particularly promote Indigenous entrepreneurs that engage with community; Indigenous entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence in their industry; and Indigenous entrepreneurs who are role models and ambassadors for their communities."
Indigenous Business Month is an initiative driven by the alumni of the MURRA Indigenous Business Masterclass run by the Melbourne Business School. These business leaders see business as providing positive role models for young Indigenous Australians and improving quality of life in Indigenous communities.
Research in 2009 by the Australian Human Rights Commission found that raising Indigenous life expectancy, employment and income levels to those of the wider community would increase Australia's real GDP by one per cent, or $10 billion.
"Since this increase in GDP would be larger than the forecasted increase in the country's total population, this would raise national living standards for all Australians. Thus, Indigenous economic development can affect Indigenous communities as well as the wider Australian economy," Professor Evans said.
As government and corporate Australia moves towards a target of procuring three per cent of goods and services from Indigenous businesses, "Programs such as MURRA, Indigenous Women in Business and Indigenous Business Month play a significant role in building a thriving Indigenous business sector," the professor said.
During Indigenous Business Month, events highlighting Indigenous business achievement will be held in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Tweed Heads and the Central Coast. These events will provide a platform to recognise achievements and address challenges facing the Indigenous business sector.
"The inaugural Indigenous Business Month in 2015 was widely supported throughout the Indigenous and non-Indigenous business sector. In 2016, the initiative seeks to maintain that momentum to make Indigenous business growth a part of the national conversation," said Ms Mayrah Sonter, MURRA Program co-founder and director of the Aboriginal media, communications and events agency 33 Creative.
"We are looking forward to robust discussion, sharing of ideas, and acknowledgment of important and inspiring achievements being made across the Indigenous business sector."
Indigenous Business Month runs until October 31. This initiative is supported by Indigenous Business Australia, PWC, BP, the City of Sydney, Commonwealth Bank, 33 Creative, CSU, and the MBS Asia Pacific Social Impact Centre.