Located within the Lot Fourteen innovation district in the heart of Adelaide, is a vibrant and welcoming First Nations entrepreneur hub called The Circle.
A partnership between the Australian and South Australian Governments, and funded by the National Indigenous Australians Agency, The Circle is positioned at the centre of the state’s innovation ecosystem.
Supporting First Nations entrepreneurs, businesses and emerging First Nations business owners with support and advice is at the core of what The Circle does; creating opportunities to build capacity, capability, and connections to thrive.
Alongside this, The Circle also provides a single point of contact for industry, government, and non-government organisations (including neighbouring universities) looking to engage First Nations businesses in their supply chains or to employ First Nations People.
Launched in August 2021, The Circle offers a range of free services to support and respond to key business challenges identified by First Nations businesses; including business development support, expert business advice, capability growth, access to new market opportunities and the physical Hub at Lot Fourteen.
The physical Hub was established and continues to be operated with almost 75 per cent First Nations suppliers. The Circle’s brand is representative of inclusivity, collaboration, trust, connection, and strength; developed in consultation with The Circle’s Design and Delivery Team, an advisory group comprising 12 First Nations business owners, and delivered in partnership with Aboriginal businesses, Ochre Dawn Creative and We Create Print Deliver.
Membership growth and success
Having reached their target membership numbers for the first year of operation within a few months of launching, The Circle’s First Nations business member base continues to grow steadily.
Members come from various industry sectors including building and construction, food and beverage, defence, education, creative industries, tourism, and hi-tech.
Being located at Lot Fourteen and part of the growing innovation ecosystem inspires new generations of First Nations entrepreneurs to chase their dreams.
It also opens opportunities for The Circle’s members to benefit from the experience and positioning of the Stone & Chalk Startup Hub, also located at Lot Fourteen, and their business networks.
And to be co-located with the Digital Technologies Academy and the Entrepreneur and Innovation Centre and Innovation Hub; working alongside the Australian Space Agency, Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre, Australian Institute for Machine Learning, and MIT bigdata Living Lab.
Not to mention being surrounded by some of the world’s most innovative corporate brands and businesses, including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure Space and the CommBank Technology Hub to name a few.
Achieving economic independence
Business ownership continues to be an effective way to achieve economic independence for First Nations families and communities.
Underpinned by thousands of years of trade and commerce experience, the flow-on benefits of First Nations business ownership are significant; building family and community wealth, creating employment opportunities, encouraging the uptake of education, increasing possibilities and the chance to engage with a globalised economy.
First Nations businesses are also playing a critical role in South Australia’s economy, with The Circle’s members employing thousands of people; with at least a quarter of their workforce being First Nations employees.
The Circle’s contribution supports the growth of business-to-business relationships, encouraging the circular economy and keeping the dollar in community for longer; delivering opportunities such as the First Nations Business Showcase, held during Indigenous Business Month.
As The Circle’s membership grows, specific services will continue to be engaged to meet the needs of the First Nations business sector; these services are available across the state, in collaboration with the existing business support ecosystem.
The Circle continues to nurture a community of First Nations businesses in South Australia with the ultimate goal of a First Nations business sector that is connected to a culturally safe, professional, and opportunity-driven service that fosters innovation, engagement, growth, and business success.
This art piece represents a community where people come together, and ideas flow naturally. The large abstract-coloured shapes help to display a swirling pool of creativity that eventually comes to meet to form a circle. This is a subtle acknowledgment of the company name – ‘The Circle’. The symbols in this piece are representative of places of gathering and the people that go there. You can see the people towards the bottom left are Kaurna as they are standing proudly amongst the Kaurna shields. The people in the top right are visitors that come to pay their respects and to share and develop their knowledge. The white circular elements are collaborative meetings taking place while making connections with other groups. This piece reflects movement towards an innovative collaborative future.