Young First Nations Change Agents

The Uluru Statement from the Heart says, ‘When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.’ First Nations youth under 25 represent 51.2% of Australia’s First Nations population, and are the future Custodians of Country and Culture. Young Change Agents works alongside communities, taking a strengths-based approach, to support their goals to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs. Our work builds on and extends entrepreneurship as a concept and practice that has existed in First Nations communities for thousands of years.

AN INTERGENERATIONAL APPROACH TO FIRST NATIONS ENTREPRENEURSHIP

January 2023 saw Young Change Agents complete the 18 month, nationwide Lighting the Spark Program - funded through the Federal Government's Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship Grant.

This iteration of Lighting the Spark was an intergenerational social entrepreneurship program that engaged First Nations girls aged 14-24. Female First Nations leaders led the way as facilitators, role models and mentors. We worked closely with 4 regional partners: Djaagan Djagi (QLD), Canberra Indigenous Business Network (ACT), Kimberley Jiyigas (WA) and Following In Her Footsteps/ Waves of Change/ Savanna Solutions (NT). Together, we codesigned a culturally nuanced approach and trained 22 local First Nations facilitators, who then delivered design-thinking based entrepreneurial workshops to girls and women across WA, NT, ACT and QLD. The project extended the 18 months of codesign with First Nations youth that began in 2019-20, which resulted in the “Lighting the Spark in our Future Leaders” report launched in NAIDOC Week 2020.

This initiative reached 558 women and girls across Australia. 37 programs were delivered across 15 geographic locations in the four States and Territories.

“Something that I’ve learned from the program about starting a company in the future is that it will require a lot of time, but I know that the harder I try the more it will become a reality... in the process I’ve learned what my own mob was when I never really knew, and I’ve recently taken pride in trying to learn a bit of my mobs' language.”

Lighting the Spark Participant