Trust and financial services company Equity Trustees has awarded a five-year grant of $500,000 to First Australians Capital (FAC), an Indigenous-led organisation that aims to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.
The grant was awarded as part of the Equity Trustees Sector Capacity Building Program, in which six of the participating individual trusts pooled funds for the grant that will support organisations solving complex societal issues. The program, which has a fund of $66 million, distributed $1.9 million via 18 grants during the 2020/21 financial year.
Ferdi Hepworth, Sector Capacity Building Program manager, Equity Trustees, said that the grant aligned with Equity Trustees’ strategic goals of unlocking sector potential and funding for impact.
“Having worked to support Indigenous organisations and Indigenous self-determination for the past decade I know first-hand that the best solutions come by backing First Nations experts to deliver their own solutions,” Hepworth said. “That’s why it’s so exciting to be able to support the team at FAC to strengthen the Indigenous ecosystem in Australia,.”
FAC has been providing essential support to nurture a vibrant and sustainable Indigenous business sector, from business planning to offering pro bono legal advice, to providing access to capital. Since 2016, it has helped over 400 indigenous businesses.
This most recent grant to FAC follows a three-year $300,000 grant also awarded by Equity Trustees and its partners, taking the total commitment to eight years.
“We are pleased to be continuing our partnership with Equity Trustees to overcome barriers that Indigenous entrepreneurs face in building their businesses,” Leah Armstrong, Managing Director at FAC, said. “The partnership will support more Indigenous businesses to become investment-ready, turn into viable and sustainable enterprises and deliver better outcomes for individuals, families, and communities.”
Mick O’Brien, Managing Director of Equity Trustees, said that the grant formed part of an ongoing commitment by Equity Trustees to supporting Indigenous causes as Australia is set to celebrate NAIDOC Week.
“NAIDOC Week plays an important role in celebrating the history, culture and achievements of First Australians and because of that, we’re proud to sponsor a number of NAIDOC events and awards,” O’Brien said. “As a RAP [Reconciliation Action Plan] organisation, we are also committed to working in close partnership with communities and organisations to understand what is important to their needs and where our granting programs can have the most social and economic impact.”