In a training first, eight local small business owners will soon play a vital role in supporting and developing a sustainable future for Indigenous businesses throughout Cairns and across Queensland after recently graduating from the Advance Queensland - One Business program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Funded by the Queensland Government and delivered by TAFE Queensland, the eight participants are the first Indigenous small business owners in Queensland to graduate as qualified One Business Trainers.

Proud Torres Strait and Wuthathi woman Kantesha Takai, and owner of boutique creative and content agency Lola Digital, said she was excited to become one of the first TAFE Queensland trained Indigenous business facilitators and is looking forward to coaching other local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to further strengthen their businesses.

“This year has placed significant pressure on small business. The One Business program will be critical in supporting business in adopting innovative practices to participate in the new economy,” Kantesha said.

“One Business will create a pool of Indigenous business trainers who can supply business acumen training and coaching to small businesses.”

“I’m really excited to get involved in the program and pass on my learnings to businesses to ensure their future success,” she said.

Kantesha is a published writer, digital marketer, graphics designer and “social media whiz” who has combined over ten years of marketing knowledge and experience into a boutique content, creative and digital agency called Lola Digital. As the heart and soul behind Lola Digital, she delivers tailored marketing solutions and support to non-profit organisations, government departments and businesses throughout the Torres Strait, and across Australia.

"For me, my business is driven by passion and the end goal is self-determination with the ability to share my success with others through employment, training and knowledge sharing. And, I want the same for others," she said.

"There is a massive opportunity for small businesses within tourism and with 2021 continuing as the Year of Indigenous Tourism, these businesses will have the opportunity to start strong, especially once international travel reopens," she continued.

"Obtaining business training through opportunities like the One Business Program, will help my people start to take control of their financial futures. And, if I’m able to understand and deliver the training, I believe that I can easily interpret the scary parts of business and simplify it for my people in ways and terms that are more familiar to them."

Motivated and passionate about encouraging young entrepreneurship and business ownership, Kantesha first dipped her toes into self-employment as a marketing freelancer at the age of 21, quickly learning the realities of entrepreneurship. She founded her previous business Strait Removals, the first 100 per cent Torres Strait Islander owned and operated removals business in the region, at the age of 27 and at 28, launched Lola Digital and quit her full-time position.

"I want to inspire young people to consider entrepreneurship and business ownership from a young age. Being the youngest facilitator of the group, I believe that I’d be able to engage with the younger cohort and implant the idea of business from a young age," said Kantesha.

A current appointee to the Queensland Government's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Business and Innovation Reference Group, Kantesha also sits as a representative member in the Indigenous Business Australia’s Futures Forum Committee for entrepreneurs under 30 years of age, and has advocated for Torres Strait businesses at the 2019 World Indigenous Forum in Vancouver, Canada.

With a background like that it's no surprise Kantesha has big plans for the One Business program and her community.

"I hope to see the One Business Program delivered in the Torres Strait Islands and the Northern Peninsula Area region. Ideally this would include catering to Outer Island Communities. More than often, our remote communities of the Torres Strait and NPA are often left out of programs like these, but there are many people in those communities with great business ideas that are sustainable and would benefit their communities," she said.

"As a facilitator already living in a remote community, I hope to make the decision process easier when it comes to hosting One Business Training in the Torres Strait region."

One Business was designed to help budding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander innovators to explore targeted opportunities for business growth and provide Indigenous business owners and entrepreneurs with the skills to either set up a new business, enter into markets or expand their existing operations.

The first cohort of One Business program participants, like Kantesha, will lead the program’s training and coaching advice on creating new local jobs and maximising Queensland’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan.


More information about the Advance Queensland – One Business program

Become a One Business Trainer


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