Start-up boost for Indigenous small business ideas | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Start-up boost for Indigenous small business ideas

Indigenous people aspiring to own and operate their own small business can apply to be part of a landmark franchise project launched by USC’s Business School.

USC is seeking applications from Queensland-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for the pilot scheme that will support Indigenous people into franchises as a pathway to becoming small business owners.

Head of USC’s School of Business Professor Lorelle Frazer – one of Australia’s leading franchising experts and scholars – said all types of franchises would be considered.

“The most important thing is that the person is interested in the product or service being provided. Someone may love the idea of operating a gym, another person may want to run a café,” Professor Frazer said.

“Indigenous people are underrepresented in small business, so a franchise is ideal as it offers an established brand as well as start-up and ongoing support.”

Under the scheme, a minimum of four business proposals from suitably qualified and motivated Indigenous people will be selected from throughout the state to be placed within an existing franchise system.

Assistance will include mentoring, franchise training and support, and access to business experts.

Professor Frazer said the two-year program aimed to evaluate the scope for utilising the franchise sector as a career pathway strategy for Indigenous people to move into business ownership. “Transitioning to small business ownership can assist financial independence and security and provide wider economic and social flow-on benefits to local communities,” she said.

The project is funded by the Queensland Government as part of a commitment to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into small business ownership.

The initiative is also a partnership with FranchiseED, a not-for- profit social enterprise that provides independent educational services to the franchise sector to encourage best practice.

Australia’s franchise sector employs a total of 472,000 people across 79,000 business units and 1,120 franchise brands and generates $146 billion a year in total sales revenue, according to the latest Franchising Australia survey in 2016.

More information is available at or by contacting Kerry Miles on

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