Confidence Critical to Indigenous Business Success

Despite a supportive family upbringing, Indigenous people continue to lack personal and professional confidence, says Aboriginal entrepreneur and business owner Tanyah Nasir, who recently graduated from Melbourne Business School’s MURRA Indigenous Business Masterclass program.
Tanyah NasirTanyah, a mother of three and Stolen Generation descendant with traditional clan connections to the Garrawa, Djugun and Tiwi language groups, created her own consulting business in 2012 to support the advancement and empowerment of remote communities in the Northern Territory.

“Somehow, as Indigenous people, we can come from great families but learn very early on, through reinforcement by all the indicators in the media, at school, in the playground and society in general that ‘we don’t measure up, don’t matter, and we’re not good at numeracy and literacy,’” says Tanyah. 

“The story we tend to hear is very negative and often from a deficit perspective, and I think, whether we are consciously aware of it or not, it can take a hold and unfortunately and sadly for some Indigenous people it manifests itself in the choices we make and the ways we behave and conduct our lives.”

Having worked as an Aboriginal educator in the Northern Territory for the past 30 years Tanyah believes confidence, belief in self and resilience are critical to the development and advancement of Indigenous people and their businesses, and has created the Rise UP Program, Be Your Best, Own Your Future which she delivers in a variety of contexts including remote communities, schools and workplaces.

“Being a teacher for many years, I have seen intelligent young people – bright shining stars in the classroom become silent and invisible, never allowing anyone to see their skills or talents. Their lack of confidence to ask a question, to answer or be part of the discussion starts in the classroom and transitions into adulthood and the workplace and can be a barrier for them throughout life” explains Tanyah.

“Within the education system there is always a massive focus on the development of numeracy and literacy, which is important, but I believe confidence and self-belief is even more so as it applies to all aspects of your personal and professional life, enabling you to ask questions, seek assistance, say you do not understand and push the boundaries and, in my case, push myself to move out of my comfort zone to start my own business.”

The MURRA Indigenous Business Masterclass program, delivered by Melbourne Business School’s Asia Pacific Social Impact Centre and supported by BP, gives established Indigenous business owners and entrepreneurs the knowledge and skills to build confidence and strengthen their capacity to grow their businesses.

Delivered by world-class faculty, the program develops capabilities in business strategy and finance, marketing, negotiations, value creation and leadership.

It also connects Indigenous businesses and establishes enduring networks across the nation.

“In the Territory, we don’t have access to the business mentors that you would have in a big city. That’s why I’ve tried to maximise the opportunities in MURRA and really learn and network with all the wonderful and extremely talented Indigenous businesses in the room.”

Tanyah says this network of ‘like thinkers’ is a source of encouragement and support.     

Brooke Miller, BP’s VP Sales & Marketing Australia, says “It has been BP’s privilege to partner with the Melbourne Business School and we congratulate this year’s MURRA program graduates on further developing their business acumen and leadership skills.

“The business community has a very important role to play in supporting Indigenous people to develop their skills and the confidence in their capabilities.”

“In all industries, diversity is an enabler to success; for any business to thrive, big or small, it takes people from all backgrounds bringing their unique culture, experience and perspective.”

BP has a proud and long-standing history of supporting Indigenous businesses, from growing employment opportunities to strengthening the diversity of its supplier network to collaborating on educational programs for the next generation of Indigenous business leaders.

This year’s MURRA Indigenous Business Masterclass program is the first in a two-year partnership, expanding on a strong and enduring relationship between the Melbourne Business School and BP. 

Applications for the 2017 MURRA Indigenous Masterclass are now open. Click here to find out more and apply.

Related Pages:

Asia Pacific Social Impact Centre - MURRA Indigenous Masterclass Program

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