Melbourne, Australia, September 2020 — COVID-19 has had a severe impact on First Nations businesses with Kinaway Chamber of Commerce claiming 22% of its Members (Indigenous businesses) in Victoria ceased operations in March 2020.

Thanks to LaunchVic, Barayamal is supporting five Indigenous businesses from Victoria during this challenging time by providing mentoring and workshops to overcome and thrive after COVID-19.

The participants include Elise Muller, a Wiradjeri and Palaway woman who started a social enterprise that supports young people with Autism through mentoring and support to achieve their goals. After achieving success as an elite VFLW player (played for the Western Bulldogs and Essendon), Elise is now looking to achieve success in business too with the help of Barayamal.

Another accelerator participant, Kira-Lea Dargin from Willow & Co started her innovative skincare brand after a serious health battle and said “I began to focus on my personal well being and implanting cultural remedies and foods into my families daily life. As I drew on my past knowledge and additionally began to further my research my love for culture, native benefits and well being developed my path into entrepreneurship and the establishment of an organic Aboriginal skincare brand.“

CEO of Barayamal, Mr Dean Foley, said an accelerator typically helps startups to gain access to business networks, knowledge, expertise and early-stage funding they need to build successful businesses.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander entrepreneurs in Victoria and throughout Australia have been struggling during COVID-19 but Barayamal has come a long way since launching the world’s first Accelerator program for Indigenous entrepreneurs in 2016 so we are looking forward to providing the participants with world-class support to overcome their challenges,” Mr Foley said.

Over the next 6-months, participants will learn the foundations of First Nations Entrepreneurship, contemporary techniques for taking their business ideas step by step through the essential stages, and growing their revenue. At the end of the program, Barayamal will showcase their successes to the world via a vast live audience online, similar to the 2019 Barayamal Accelerator Demo Day which was presented in person and online.

Further information:

Dean Foley


p: +61 458 980 232 

e: [email protected]

Accelerator Participants:

Sara Stuart (VIC)

Joseph Barnes-Hill (VIC)

  • Renew Energy Services Pty Ltd (RES) – Through Renew Energy Services RES provides commercial property owners & business owners access to solar through power purchase agreements.
  • [email protected]

Elise Muller (VIC)

  • Active Support – Active Support mentors young people on the Autism Spectrum who are isolated to find connection and purpose in their community and achieve their goals.
  • [email protected]

Thara Brown & Tarsh Bamblett (VIC)

Deb Miller (VIC)

Jason Davis (NT)

Ruby Heard (QLD)

Kira-Lea Dargin (NSW)

Media Assets:


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