Over the past few years I have been really interested and inspired by the many Indigenous women entrepreneurs I have been blessed to work with, research with and teach. Indigenous women who run a business are often quite isolated by the level of work and personal pressures they work with. Running a program like MURRA Indigenous Business Master Class has created a space to encourage not just ‘network’ connections but friendships that have nurtured Indignous women entrepreneurs (and me too). I was speaking to a friend, and MURRA Alumni, who speaks about making time, not matter how busy she finds herself, to spend time ith her MURRA sistas when they visit her hometown.
So this resonant idea of connectedness is so fundamental to Indigenous women entreprenuers as many report having to do it all themselves with little encouragement and little mentorship. It made me wonder is this an Australian only phenomena?
I recently did a skype keynote to the Wahine (Mari women’s) entrepreneurs conference and I found that the level of connectedness as a focus for Indigenous entrepneurs was a big theme – exemplified by one question I recieved which was ‘do you know my cousin – she lectures at your uni?’ (yes I do!). Other questions and feedback from my talk seem to suggest the hunger for lengthy, supportive and positive discussion and research about Indigenou entreprneurship because people need to hear each others stories and share the lessons learnt.
So coming to he photo I have posted below – it features my beautiful, fellow academic friends L-R Sonya Pearce (UTS) who is researching NSW Indigwnous women entreprneurs, Wanda Wuttunee (Uni of Manitoba) who researchs the Canadian Aboriginal economy, Liz Ross (Uni of Alaska Fairbanks) who runs the MBA progam and Ntive Alaskan Business networks, and me! As a researcher I am interested in sharing lessons lerant and foregrounding Indigenous entrepreneurial stories. However, I aso want to ground up theoretical and conceptual ideas that adds to the collective understanding of entrepreneurship. It seems to me that a starting point for international collaboration begins by listening to each others stories and engaging with each others research. I want our research approach to reflect what Indigenous women entrpreneurs are telling us is important to them – connectedness and friendship.