We create a supportive and continuing environment for the sustainable establishment and growth of small and medium Indigenous business.


The ACT Indigenous Business Support Program was established in 2015 as part of The Canberra Business Yarning Circle the original Canberra Indigenous Business Forum. The Business Support Program has increased its sphere of operations and is now part of The Canberra Indigenous Entrepreneurs Centre. A further business and community development program initiative by ACT Australian of the Year, Manbarra and Torres Strait Island man, Dion Devow, it is recognised by the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce. Since inception it has helped establish, mentor and advise many new Indigenous Businesses. In addition to being a discussion forum it provides practical workshops on business skills suitable for those with no experience to those with previous business experience.

It’s a great place to yarn about business in Canberra. Come and hear some great stories; celebrate Indigenous Business and learn about the Canberra Indigenous Entrepreneurs Program and other Business Support available to business. If you have a business idea or want to know how to get into business join the Yarning Circle.

Feedback from around the country and internationally was that the program was nation leading in its specialised approach to supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs.

In 2018 the ACT government committed 12 months funding to support:

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM), one of the world’s most innovative law firms, has kindly provided venues for Yarning Circle meetings and is lo provide a briefing on legal principles to the CIEC.


The CIEC and Yerra will deliver the following services:

  1. A twelve month program that offers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and entrepreneurs networking within a supportive business community,
  2. A formal business support, mentoring and peer support facility;
  3. Connection to dedicated education and training opportunities;
  4. Support and develop local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business and entrepreneurship; and
  5. Integrate formal training and education from the Canberra Institute of Technology and the University of Canberra into the program, introducing local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses to existing business support programs,


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Business Networking:

  1. Through The Canberra Business Yarning Circle: a culturally sensitive networking event run by an experienced facilitator.


Business Development Training & Support

  1. Six Business, Product and Finance Workshops. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Business specific workshops targeting key finance, management and communication skills;
  2. The second Indigenous Trade Show. Dion ran the first of these in 2016. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Business Trade Show showcasing local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Businesses to local, Commonwealth Government, universities and corporate bodies;
  3. Individual Business Mentoring and Strategy. Engage twelve businesses. Develop strategic plans for individual businesses and provide direct support and mentoring of each business for twelve months in conjunction with our education partner the University of Canberra;
  4. Five Specialist Business Advice Sessions. Experts will be engaged to provide targeted advice and support (for example: legal and Intellectual Property); and
  5. Establish a co-working space for at least five entrepreneurs with appropriate office support.


Individual Development and Employment:

  1. We will present Three Employability Training Sessions. These Educational sessions will be presented to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students seeking support in finding employment; and
  2. Provide additional support such as CV support, interview training etc.
  3. Enable at least five Internships/Traineeships. We are committed to providing Internship opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in local Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses.


Educational Program:

  1. We will refer at least ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business owners or entrepreneurs to the Canberra Institute of Technology to undertake training in areas where skills gaps have been identified.

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