Learning how to succeed in business, access multimillion dollar government contracts or find out more about entrepreneurship were all par for the course for students who elected business at this year's UNSW Indigenous Winter School, now in its 13th year.
Almost 100 students from Wee Waa to Canberra, Rockhampton to Armidale took part in the week-long residential program that gives year 10,11 and 12 Indigenous students an insight into UNSW.
Six students attracted to courses such as economics and commerce, accounting, management and marketing, came to UNSW Business School.
They heard from a panel of Indigenous business, industry and government representatives including businessman Aden Ridgeway, a former politician and Australia's first Indigenous Senator; as well as Indigenous students currently studying at UNSW.
Curston Small, a year 11 student from Wee Waa, wants to be an accountant. She takes business studies at high school and has a traineeship at a local accounting firm.
"I want to see the world, have new opportunities and meet new people," she said.
Business School management lecturer Ricardo Flores' career path had so impressed Kiah Marshall, a year 11 student from Canberra, she wants to study management at UNSW.
Aden Ridgeway said the government's procurement policy provided great opportunities for indigenous businesses and contractors through organisations such as Supply Nation, set up by two Indigenous entrepreneurs. Supply Nation is based on a US model aimed at increasing the number of minority groups awarded supply contracts.
He said models like this had flow on effects – not only because they made it more likely minority firms would be selected, but also because these firms were more likely than non-Indigenous firms to employ Indigenous people, so they increased employment opportunities overall.
"The currency of business knowledge and practice is key when it comes to self-determination, from the ability to build and manage your personal finances to determining the impact of budgetary decisions whether in a community, corporation, government policy, educational contexts," said Rebecca Harcourt Program Manager of Indigenous Business Education at UNSW and facilitator of the Winter School Business program.
"When we are able to live well, true to our individual and shared aspirations, we can harness all sorts of possibilities to support ourselves and our families, connecting with the lives of our friends and colleagues. Here at UNSW with the incredible partnership and support from both Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Unit and UNSW Business School our Indigenous business students are able to thrive and many of our Indigenous business students and Alumni return for Winter School to encourage participants realise their dreams."
Highlights of this year's Business program included lectures in Information Systems, Entrepreneurship and a visit to Tourism Australia all led by Owen Walsh a fourth year Wiradjuri student who is studying a dual degree at UNSW business School.