Business consultant and entrepreneur, Carol Vale, is passionate about equipping other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to get their businesses off the ground and start sowing the seeds of economic independence.
In mid-April, the founder and managing director of Brisbane-based Murawin Pty Ltd, a majority Indigenous-owned consultancy, conducted a two-day women’s business workshop at the AITHM Clinical Research and Training Facility on Thursday Island (TI).
The Tiddas in Business workshop attracted budding business women from as far afield as Townsville, as well as TI and the Northern Peninsula Area.
“They are looking at what the local needs are and how can they fill them, commercially – which is great,” said Ms Vale.
A Dunghutti woman, born in Armidale, New South Wales, she spent more than 30 years delivering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services through the government sector, before striking out to establish Murawin in 2013.
She now travels Australia, motivating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to break the cycle of disadvantage and build better futures for themselves and their families.
“It's about economic empowerment for women,” she said. “It's about helping to create employment opportunities, even in remote areas. Sometimes, our women can't go out to work because they've got little ones. So it's about them establishing micro businesses, where they can do work at home.”
Workshop participants are provided with a business model canvas template, as well as a business women’s tool kit, to get them started on translating business ideas into practical plans. Ms Vale also supplies a wealth of information on resources available to fledgling entrepreneurs.
The AITHM Clinical Research and Training Facility on Thursday Island proved an ideal location for the workshop.
“It is a beautiful venue, overlooking the water, and also well-equipped,” observed Ms Vale. “The staff were incredibly supportive and ensured that we had everything we needed.
“The facility is also accessible. On day one of the workshop, two women visiting the pre-school next door came over to find out what was happening. They asked if they could attend the workshop the following day. Of course, we said they were welcome!
“Given the amount the interest the workshop generated, I would definitely like to return.”