Blue Nile African Australian Business Education Program

The classroom experience is key to the learning process. But equally important are the networks which have the potential to open doors and provide opportunities for our students.

The “Blue Nile” African Australian Business Education program has been developed with the support of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute at the University of Melbourne to provide the unmet business education needs of recently arrived African Australians operating in business communities within Australia. The program targets African Australian entrepreneurs and leaders who wish to expand their business knowledge so that they can access and network with mainstream Australian industry, building their own economic prosperity and that of their communities.

African Australians demonstrate high levels of entrepreneurship and engage in small businesses in various areas, such as transport and logistics, hospitality, cleaning, finance and banking. However, often due to a lack of network connections, a limited understanding of Western business, and the absence of experienced mentors within their communities, they are unable to grow and expand their business.

The Blue Nile program builds on three previous, successful programs. We combine the insights gained from the activities of our partner, the African Think Tank (ATT), in the delivery of the African Leadership Development Program; their collaboration with National Australia Bank in NAB’s African Inclusion Program; and our pioneering program designed for Indigenous Australian entrepreneurs, the MURRA Indigenous Business Masterclass program.

IMPACT

The classroom experience is key to the learning process. But equally important are the networks which have the potential to open doors and provide opportunities for our students. Blue Nile participants stand to benefit from the faculty at the University of Melbourne who specialise in business education; from the corporate connections gained through ATT’s efforts such as the NAB African Inclusion Program; and from the cultural connections of other African leaders who have completed the African Leadership Development Program.

Our mission is to strengthen the capacity of African Australian entrepreneurs at the individual level, through their own enterprises, and as a community group, to provide an economic and social benefit for all Australians.

COLLABORATIVE PARTNERS

  • African Think Tank
  • Jesuit Social Services
  • Brotherhood of St Laurence
  • Incubate Foundation
  • AAMEYS

OUTPUT

To ensure that the Blue Nile program is embedded in and connected to the African Australian community, we’ve engaged in a co-creation process with the community. This process involved formulating a reference group and conducting research on the business needs of the community through interviews, focus groups and participating in community meetings. The process enabled us to understand the economic challenges and business education needs so that we can tailor the program to suit their business development and growth needs.

The research findings were presented in a report which was launched at the African Australians Settlement and Integration 2030: Opportunities and Challenges Conference, which was held at The University of Melbourne in November 2018.

INVESTIGATORS

Haileluel Gebre-Selassie,  Community Program Director

Dr. Samuelson Appau,  Program Coordinator,  RMIT University

Precious Rametsana,  Community Researcher,  Faculty of Business and Economics

Chief investigator

Associate Professor Ben Neville
Management and Marketing

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