Indigenous Business Month event to put wind in local entrepreneurs' sails
  • Thursday 24 October 2019
ImageDo you know the dreamtime story of Mudjimba’s Old Woman Island? Simon Thornalley hopes Sunshine Coast locals and tourists soon will once his business is afloat.

The Torres Strait Islander man, in partnership with Kabi Kabi locals, is launching a unique start-up called Saltwater EcoTours which will provide water-based tours of the Sunshine Coast to culturally significant sites.

Mr Thornalley will share his business story and recent experience attending the World Indigenous Business Forum 2019 in Vancouver at the upcoming Black Coffee event celebrating National Indigenous Business Month.

South East Queensland Indigenous Chamber of Commerce’s (SEQICC) Sunshine Coast Chapter is presenting the October 31 event at Eumundi’s Deadly Espresso, in partnership with Sunshine Coast Council.

Mr Thornalley said he hoped to inspire other Indigenous people to consider business ventures.

“As custodians, First Nations people take responsibility to care for land and sea, country and their people, and business is a powerful channel to achieve that,’’ Mr Thornalley said.

Thanks to his boat-builder father, Mr Thornalley spent his childhood sailing the Queensland coastline and has rarely left the ocean since – becoming a commercial diver and professional boat driver.

In his address, Mr Thornalley will share how his business venture is providing the opportunity to share his love of the ocean and desire to educate people about First Nations culture.

Community Programs Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said council’s Reconciliation Action Plan committed to supporting local, Indigenous supplier diversity, including the development of Indigenous cultural tourism across the region.

“Indigenous Business Month is an initiative of the MURRA Indigenous Master Class Program (MURRA) alumni, to promote the variety and depth of Indigenous businesses nationally and to provide an Indigenous business voice to the national conversation,” Cr McKay said.

“In addition to hearing Mr Thornalley’s inspiring story, attendees at our celebration will hear presentations from council on its Business Support Program and the Indigenous Tourism Development Program.

Economic Development Portfolio Councillor Steve Robinson said council was passionate about strengthening local, First Nations businesses and was delighted to partner with SEQICC’s Sunshine Coast chapter to deliver the event.

“Council will continue to work hard to identify opportunities to help Indigenous entrepreneurs thrive and build on our existing achievements which include showing leadership across Australia’s local government sector by endorsing our own Indigenous (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Procurement guidelines in 2018.”

SEQICC Sunshine Coast Chapter co-chair Terri Waller encouraged local businesses and individuals to attend the event.

“Indigenous Business Month is a chance for the business sector to get a sense of how we as a group can influence and impact opportunities for community in employment training and creative events,” Mrs Waller said.

“This event will also raise the profile of SEQICC’s Sunshine Coast chapter which is important as we are in a region that is set to receive a lot of attention across the business, tourism, construction and government sectors in coming years.”

What: Black Coffee, Indigenous Business Month event
When: 8-10am Thursday, 31 October
Where: Deadly Espresso, 1/79 Memorial Drive, Eumundi

To RSVP and for further information contact council’s First Nations Team at: reconciliation@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au. RSVPs close on October 30.