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First hybrid pop up connects businesses

A desire to keep providing safe support and connection opportunities for Indigenous businesses during COVID-19 times led to the first successful hybrid hub delivered in Kwinana recently by the Waalitj Foundation’s Waalitj Hub.

Indigenous business owners and entrepreneurs joined with industry leaders to discuss partnership opportunities at the Kwinana Regional Business Hub on 15 February, thanks to a partnership with the Alcoa Foundation.

The hybrid pop up was a first of its kind with over 20 Indigenous businesspeople attending the event in person and a further 10 joining virtually, representing varied skills and capabilities including mechanical maintenance, electrical services, recruitment resources and hospitality.

Guests heard from Waalitj Hub Business Coach and General Manager, Shane Devitt about the support the organisation can offer existing and emerging businesses and then from representatives from Alcoa of Australia, Fulton Hogan, City of Kwinana and the Department of Finance about the organisations’ commitment to working with Indigenous businesses and upcoming opportunities.

Shane Devitt said it was inspiring to see so many successful Indigenous business owners in the room and online and he was excited to see opportunities blossoming with companies like Alcoa.

“With the increase in COVID-19 cases, being able to deliver the pop up in a hybrid state, still allows the wider business community to gain awareness and benefit from the breadth of strong, emerging Indigenous businesses in WA,” Shane said.

The event was made possible with the support of Alcoa’s global charity, the Alcoa Foundation, which is providing funding for the Waalitj Hub to deliver nine business pop-ups in areas near where the resources company operates.

Alcoa Global Procurement Director Adrian Jones outlined several opportunities available for Indigenous businesses with Alcoa, which mines bauxite and refines alumina in the south west of the state.

Mr Jones said Alcoa was committed to increasing economic participation for Indigenous Australians through both business and employment opportunities.

“It was great to be involved in the first successful hybrid model of the hub, allowing Alcoa and others to continue to connect, engage and provide opportunities for Indigenous businesses to grow during COVID times.” he said.

Waalitj Hub client Blake Haywood, of Alumuna Building Maintenance Services, said the support provided by the Waalitj Hub and events like this one had helped his business grow.

“Waalitj Hub have helped us with setting up the business as well as giving us direction on what we can accomplish, I think without the Hub our business would be a year behind,” Mr Haywood said.

“Events like these help us network and learn more about bigger opportunities,” he said.

To find out more or to register for the upcoming pop-ups click here.

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