CQUniversity's Desley Pidgeon has been at the helm of the Whanu Binal Indigenous Entrepreneurship program for almost two years and says that her role as Project Manager has helped her and her team to learn more about Indigenous culture and business than she could have ever imagined.
As a learning and teaching specialist' Desley said that she took on the role from a technical and delivery perspective but in the time since has been able to apply new philosophies to her delivery methodology.
"As Project Manager' the initial phase in 2019 provided the opportunity to work with other parts of CQUniversity' the wider community and Arrow Energy which conceived the program and funds its delivery.
"Through this engagement' I was empowered to use the philosophy of 'yarning' to construct the immersive online content.
"This became even more important in 2020 when we had to change the delivery of other program elements due to pandemic disruptions and restrictions.
"I am privileged to be able to continue to manage this program and work with an incredible team to refine and make this even more relevant to the participants.
"The team is passionate about highlighting the ways in which we all learn and developing innovative online strategies to facilitate the needs and expectations of different learners' including how we can create spaces that allow for collaboration and learning together.
"The guidance of Professor Adrian Miller and his team in CQUniversity's Office of Indigenous Engagement has been instrumental in delivering the program over the past 12 months and they have helped us' as learning developers' to understand and respectfully implement 'yarning methodology' in the course content and session delivery.
"Having the ability to share information in a culturally safe and supportive environment is a continued focus for the team'"
Desley also said she has been further inspired to innovate the program by learning from the participants and program mentors.
"I think the participants and the mentors are incredible in the way they all share the desire to bring the mob forward.
"As Australians we should all look to support and recognise small to large businesses that are owned and operated in our backyards' this not only support the owners of the business but the wider community in which they run.
"Indigenous businesses in particular' contribute significantly not only to the Australian economy but to improving community' for community.
"There are incredible Indigenous businesses out there that offer amazing products and services' usually with a strong focus on cultural diversity' community and sustainability' which is why it is so rewarding to be a part of this program.
"The Whanu Binal program is dedicated to improving Indigenous business outcomes by not only supporting business owners and entrepreneurs but encouraging individuals and organisations to support Indigenous owned businesses'"
Whanu Binal is open to Indigenous business owners or those who have a business idea to develop.
Prospective participants can apply by submitting an expression of interest via https://www.cqu.edu.au/whanu-binal-indigenous-entrepreneur-program or by emailing WBE@cqu.edu.au.
Whanu Binal is delivered in partnership by Arrow Energy and CQUniversity. While Arrow Energy has run the Whanu Binal program in various forms since 2013' the partnership with between CQUniversity was launched in July 2019.
Arrow Energy established the program to build the capacity and skills of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and entrepreneurs to "actively participate in the gas supply chain' the incredible wealth-generating opportunities of the resources industry and the wider Australian economy".