Craig’s future in business a lot brighter thanks to Whanu Binal Program

Published:15 December 2020

CQUniversity and Arrow Energy’s Whanu Binal Entrepreneur Program mentee Craig McKellar.

As the operator of a mobile crane hire business, Craig McKellar wants to be successful, but he also wants his employees to share in that success - which is why he’s benefitting from CQUniversity and Arrow Energy’s Whanu Binal Entrepreneur Program.

Launched in July and created for Indigenous entrepreneurs, executives, managers and Traditional Custodians, Whanu Binal offers a virtual yarning space, Indigenous learning styles, experienced mentors, and the opportunity for networking with peers and business accelerator organisations.

Although the partnership with CQU is new, Arrow Energy has run Whanu Binal in various forms since 2013, to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and individual workers in its operational footprint.

Craig, who said he’s always had aspirations of starting his own business, currently lives in Kleinton, near Toowoomba, but grew up in Goombungee. He belongs to the Budjiti Tribe.

He said as a mentee, he hoped the program would provide him with a clear understanding of how to start a business and create business networks.

“My specific business is mobile crane hire and to be a successful Indigenous person that runs a business and that does it’s best to train and employ Indigenous people,” Craig said.

“I feel that this program will help me achieve progression to building the right stepping-stones to become that Indigenous business of pride for what I do.

“Being an entrepreneur for me means that I’m closing the gap on Indigenous business, being a proud part of the community and the nation, making the wider community feel a part of being involved with such success.”

Craig said he enjoyed the interactions during the program.

“Everyone is so nice and supportive and have an understanding of what everyone feels because we are mostly all in same boat,” he said.

“I hope that by doing this program I build a solid business plan that will in turn be rewarding for the future of developing my own business. I want to prosper and be helpful to others for work and networking.”

The program is being delivered through an eLearning online program that allows participants to access content anytime, anywhere, on any device, and also encourages them to build a professional support network.

In collaboration with CQUni and Arrow Energy, closed media pages enable mentoring to be approached in an innovative environment to cater to current social distancing and travel restrictions.

The use of a virtual ‘yarning circle’ will support both learning and development of entrepreneurial ‘know how’.

The 28 participants selected as part of the Whanu Binal program are First Nations business owners or those who have a business idea to develop.

Participants are guided by 20 program mentors, 12 of whom are CQUniversity alumni.

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