Walan Mayingyu Indigenous Business Pop-up Hub out to boost innovative ideas

BUSINESS BOOST: Professor Michelle Evans is hosting an Indigenous business pop-up hub at the Retro Lane Cafe this week. Picture: MARK JESSER

BUSINESS BOOST: Professor Michelle Evans is hosting an Indigenous business pop-up hub at the Retro Lane Cafe this week. Picture: MARK JESSER

AN ambitious program hoping to boost local Indigenous business has set up in Albury for the next two days.

The Walan Mayingyu Indigenous Entrepreneurship pop-up hub will be operating from the Retro Lane Youth Café through until Thursday, offering workshops and seminars for both established and aspiring businesses.

Walan Mayingyu, which translates to ‘strong for people’ in Wiradjuri language, is the brainchild of Charles Sturt University associate professor Michelle Evans.

Originally from the Hunter Valley, Professor Evans moved to the Border just over a year ago, and said it had been important to her to share her work with the Indigenous community in Albury-Wodonga.

“It's an ambitious program, we're trying to incorporate a range of people in, but the most pivotal thing was to bring Indigenous entrepreneurs in to teach Indigenous entrepreneurs,” she said.

“I use the term ‘entrepreneur’ specifically and strategically – we want people to think of the hub as being about having an idea and thinking about opportunities, rather than the day to day of setting up a business and how difficult that seems.”

According to Professor Evans, one of the things that makes Indigenous businesses stand out is the concept of social entrepreneurship.

While Indigenous businesses vary from micro and small business through to multi-million dollar operations, it is their engagement on a social level that makes them unique.

“From a definitional perspective, having at least 51 per cent ownership by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person makes it an Indigenous business,” Professor Evans said.

“There is also the idea of social entrepreneurship, a lot of Indigenous businesses are also social businesses.

“There is that intentional effort to give back in certain ways, be it through funding scholarships or holding conferences, or employing only Indigenous people in a certain industry to accelerate employment in that area.” 

While largely targeting Indigenous business, there are also public sessions held daily for anyone to come down and learn from.

“We’re hoping to target established businesses across the Border, as well as young people and community organisations,”  Professor Evans said. 

Session times for the hub can be found through the CSU website.