Artist Glenda Nicholls is one of the first entrepreneurs to reap the rewards of RMIT University’s new Indigenous Business Creation Scholarships.
Re-entering the workforce as a 60-year-old after redundancy, Nicholls said the Indigenous Business Creation Scholarship had helped her start a business selling her artworks.
The Scholarship will provide students with free training in the nationally accredited Certificate IV in Small Business Management at RMIT.
The Scholarship is for Indigenous entrepreneurs who are ready to start their own business and offers the chance to gain training, mentoring, business advice and support, and a living allowance while participating in the program.
They will learn about financials/recordkeeping, marketing, business operations, legal and regulatory requirements for businesses, and business planning.
While completing the six-month program participants will also be encouraged to apply for seed funding from the University’s New Enterprise Investment Fund or other funding, to help them find the capital to start up.
Nicholls, a Wadi Wadi, Yorta Yorta and Ngarrindjeri woman, is a generational weaver who received the Deadly Art Award at the 2015 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards.
She said the scholarship and her mentor had helped her work on the marketing of her artwork, some of which appears in the Australian War Memorial.
Graham Airey, Head of RMIT’s School of Vocational Business Education, said the scholarships were part of the University’s rich transformative experience for students.
“The University recently launched its Reconciliation Action Plan committing to improving the levels of access, participation and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and these scholarships are part of this ongoing commitment,” he said.
Stacey Campton, Senior Manager of RMIT’s Ngarara Willim Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, said recipients would receive customised support as the Centre had worked in close cooperation to create the scholarships.
“The University values Indigenous Australian perspectives, and aims to position itself as both an employer of choice and preferred place to study for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders,” she said.
RMIT has a long history of engaging with Indigenous Australian perspectives.
The scholarships are one of a series of initiatives including the launch of the University’s first Reconciliation Action Plan; opening of the Ngarara Place Indigenous garden on City campus; and the official opening of Walert House student accommodation at Bundoora West campus earlier this year.
RMIT is privileged to borrow the name Walert, meaning possum, from the Wurundjeri language.
Story: Louise Handran