First Virtual Pop-Up success

Finding new ways to provide safe support and connection opportunities for Indigenous businesses during the pandemic has led to the Waalitj Foundation’s first successful virtual pop-up thanks to a partnership with the Alcoa Foundation.

Hosted online, the Bindjareb Pop Up enabled Indigenous business owners and entrepreneurs to join with industry leaders, to discuss collaborative opportunities.

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

Guests heard from Waalitj Hub Business Coach, Shirley McPherson and General Manager, Shane Devitt about the support the organisation can offer existing and emerging businesses and then from representatives from Alcoa of Australia, Western Power and AusIndustry about the organisations’ commitment to working with Indigenous businesses, upcoming opportunities and how to navigate their tendering process.

Waalitj Hub Business Coach Shirley McPherson said it was inspiring to see so many successful business owners connecting online.

“Being able to offer the pop-up hub in a virtual format allows the wider business community to still benefit from the breadth of strong, emerging Indigenous businesses in WA,” she said.

“Our innovative approach enables us to service our clients and help them adapt to the challenges of COVID-19 while connecting them with companies like Alcoa.”

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

Alcoa Global Procurement Director Adrian Jones presented online and discussed several opportunities available for Indigenous businesses with Alcoa, which mines bauxite and refines alumina in WA’s south-west.

“We are committed to increasing economic participation for Indigenous Australians through both business and employment opportunities,” he said.

Waalitj Hub client Joel O’Driscoll, Noongar man and Director of Bidi Facility Services said attending these events helps him connect with other Indigenous businesses and meet new potential clients.

“Being able to attend these pop up’s online is helpful, I liked how there was more than one type of industry presenting including government, mining, refinery and utilities,” he said.

Since its inauguration in 2020, the Waalitj Hub has serviced over 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait clients. While the Hub is based in Perth, the partnership with the Alcoa Foundation ensures important services can be taken to regional areas south of Perth.

As well as partnering to deliver the pop-up business hubs, Alcoa Foundation is also proudly supporting the Waalitj Foundation’s pre-employment program across Kwinana, Peel and the upper South-West regions. This program focuses on improving the employability of Indigenous job seekers through developing skills and work readiness.

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

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