Mentors make a difference

A training course helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people get into business.

A training course helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people get into business.

A training course helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people get into business.

A training course helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people get into business.

INDIGENOUS residents of western Sydney are being given the chance to create viable businesses through a series of workshops.

The government-run Into Business workshop initiative is part of a national program which aims to assist indigenous Australians to "establish, acquire and grow small to medium businesses" and close the gap in business ownership.

Co-ordinator Erik Oates said the workshops were developed to "meet an identified need".

"They allow participants to work through their idea to see whether it can be developed into a commercially viable business, after which they are much better prepared to work with a business consultant to formalise their business plan and source finance," Mr Oates said.

He said the program was available to people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background who were new to business and had an idea with the potential to be turned into a commercial enterprise.

"The workshops offer an opportunity to help people fully investigate their business ideas in their own time, at their own pace," Mr Oates said.

He said support and mentoring was provided at every step.

"The program is a series of three one-day workshops spaced about five weeks apart to give time for participants to further research their business ideas," Mr Oates said.

"In between workshops, participants are supported by the workshop facilitator.

"After participants complete the workshops, they can apply to work with a business consultant.

"Then, if the business starts, they have one-on-one mentoring support."

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