Whanu Binal Program lifts Paul's crane business to new heights

07 April 2021

Paul Olsen wants his Brolga Cranes business to be the best Indigenous crane hire business in Australia and CQUniversity and Arrow Energy are helping him achieve that dream through the Whanu Binal Indigenous Entrepreneurship Program.

Launched in July 2020 and created for Indigenous entrepreneurs' executives' managers and Traditional Custodians' Whanu Binal offers participants a chance to build upon their business and entrepreneurial skills through a virtual yarning space' Indigenous learning styles' experienced mentors' and the opportunity for networking with peers and business accelerator organisations.

Although the program partnership with CQUniversity is new' Arrow Energy has run Whanu Binal in various forms since 2013' with the goal of supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and individual workers in its operational footprint.

Paul is the Managing Director of Brolga Cranes in Gladstone and participated in the first program delivered in collaboration by Arrow Energy and CQUniversity in 2020.

Paul grew up in Gayndah and belongs to the Wakka Wakka mob.

'I decided to participate in the Whanu Binal Program to learn and gain further information to become a successful entrepreneur'' he said.

'The (method of) delivery was exceptional. I wish I had access to it when I first started my business 12 months ago.'

He said the mentorship he received helped him personally and professionally.

'The biggest help I received was to learn to take time out and look after my mental health - to learn to switch off from business to family'' he said.

'From a professional stand-point I learned how to interact and look at other avenues and approaches and to always refer to my business plan.

'I also learned to realise that there is always help available no matter what help is required.

'I hope to build on my experiences' and I plan to build this business to become Australia's premier Indigenous crane hire service.'

He said the Whanu Binal Program provided the tools and guidance to start a business from bottom up and insight into what achievements can be reached.

This year's Whanu Binal program will centre on 'Bringing the Mob Forward'.

The program not only enables participants to access content anytime' anywhere on any device' but also to build a professional support network.

In collaboration with CQUniversity and Arrow Energy' closed media pages enable mentoring to be approached in an innovative environment to cater to current travel restrictions.

Whanu Binal is open to Indigenous current business owners or those who have a business idea to develop.

The first Whanu Binal program for 2021 is now underway but expressions of interest for the next program which will commence in mid-2021 are now open.

People interested in learning more about the program or submitting an expression of interest can visit www.cqu.edu.au/whanu-binal-indigenous-entrepreneur-program.

CQUniversity also invites Indigenous alumni to apply to become program mentors. Those interested can visit the website or contact alumni-enquiries@cqu.edu.au.