IBA Media Release – IBA announces second Strong Women Strong Business Conference

  • IBA has officially announced the second Strong Women Strong Business conference for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business women to be held in early 2020 with more details to be announced in the coming weeks.
  • IBA will engage with Indigenous businesses to partner in the delivery of the conference
  • This announcement builds on the hugely successful inaugural conference in 2018 and the growing online community of over 1,400 women
  • IBA is committing a further $1.1 million over the next 12 months for tailored programs to support Indigenous women in business. This is in addition to IBA’s regular commitment which has seen over $18 million in business finance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women over the past two years.

With over a million and half business owners in Australia, only 11,583 of those are Indigenous and only 0.25 per cent of the total are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women according to the 2016 Australian Census. Of all Indigenous business owner operators, only 33% are women.

In May 2018, Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) launched its inaugural Strong Women Strong Business conference, bringing 200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business women and aspiring business women from across the country together in Adelaide for a three-day event. Further, there is an active network of over 1,400 women on the Facebook group who will have access to support and mentoring through the new platform.

IBA has been growing its support for Indigenous women in business, with nearly 700 women entrepreneurs supported with finance or business support in the two years since 1 July 2017. The number of IBA business loans given to women increased by 83 per cent in the period 2017 to 2019. The proportion of loan approvals that were only for women also increased by 27 per cent over that same time.

Stella de Cos, Business Solutions Director at IBA and an Arrernte woman, has been on the Strong Women Strong Business journey since the beginning.

‘We developed Strong Women Strong Business in direct response to the increases we saw in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women starting and growing their businesses over the past three years. While we had high hopes for the initial conference, we were overwhelmed with the response we received.

‘We are excited to confirm our second Strong Women Strong Business conference will take place in early 2020 and will be sharing more details in the coming weeks around the event location, applications, partners, speakers and more so stay tuned.

‘Strong Indigenous women in business have always led their communities and other Indigenous business women to learn and succeed. Following our inaugural conference, it was clear that we needed to create a way for women to connect, share and learn from one another outside of just events and this is what inspired the creation of our online platforms.’

The Strong Women Strong Business online presence includes a highly active Facebook community and online mentoring platform that matches women as mentors and mentees to enable learning and development that otherwise would not be available to most women.

The Strong Women, Strong Business Mentoring Platform consists of information modules that enable Indigenous women to better their skills and confidence in business, and acts as a guidance resources for mentors and mentees to learn from each other.

Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, is passionate about Strong Women Strong Business and ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women get support to start and grow their businesses.

‘The platform allows our female entrepreneurs to connect with other strong Indigenous women and access support and resources to start or grow their businesses,’ Minister Wyatt said. ‘The network comes from all around the country, and it’s particularly important for those women in regional and remote areas to know they are not alone.’

For more information on the Strong Women Strong Business conference or to join the Strong Women Strong Business network, please go to strongwomenstrongbusiness.com

Media contact: Tara Toohill 02 9207 6362 or [email protected]

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