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David goes full circle to help Indigenous entrepreneurs through Whanu Binal

[Greg Chapman]


Image: supplied

David Parkin is giving back to the CQUniversity-Arrow Energy’s Whanu Binal Indigenous Entrepreneur Program, taking what he learned as a mentee and mentor to perform the vital role of facilitator.

Since its inception almost five years ago with CQUniversity, Whanu Binal has made a significant impact by providing business owners with additional skills and knowledge to build their networks and develop their business plans.

Mr Parkin, who is a proud Trawlwulwuy man from Tebrakunna country, is the current facilitator of program, a role he is equally proud to perform.

“For me, being asked to facilitate the program in 2024 is a full-circle moment as I started out as a participant myself in 2019-20, and was a mentor in 2021-22,” he said.

“My role, first and foremost, is to create an environment for participants and mentors that is culturally safe, open to respectful discussions and learning interactions – the Yarning Circle.

“I am also providing insights and learnings from my experiences on the specific topics that we are covering over the course of the program.”

Mr Parkin said the program gives participants the opportunity to hear from subject matter experts, which in turn helps them on their business journeys, with a deeper exploration of these topics and how they can implement them within their business.

“It has been very satisfying to see the participants turn up each week - to learn, engage with the sessions, ask questions and then apply these learnings to their individual business circumstances,” he said.

“It is exciting, being part of their journey and seeing where they take their businesses.

“I hope that from this, they recommend taking programs like Whanu Binal to others within the community who are either in business or are thinking about starting a business because of the connections with other deadly business individuals they will make, as well as the topics that they will learn to help propel their ideas and businesses along.”

The program has been developed as a flexible study pathway that combines a series of self-paced modules with live virtual yarning circles with mentors and peers. It also provides participants with direct mentor support and guidance via email, phone and video catchups and social media. 

‘Whanu’ is a strong tree with deep roots and ‘Binal’ is the development of knowledge from infancy to an elder.

Arrow’s Principal for Indigenous Relations and Social Investment, Shenda Evans, said programs like Whanu Binal were crucial for building a stronger and more inclusive business community.

“Arrow Energy is committed to fostering the growth and success of Indigenous businesses through initiatives and activities like the Whanu Binal program,” Shenda said.

“The partnership with CQUniversity allows us to provide essential resources and support to Indigenous entrepreneurs.

“Seeing participants like David Parkin not only benefit from the program but also give back as facilitators is incredibly rewarding.

“We are proud to continue this collaboration and look forward to witnessing the ongoing success and positive impact of the Whanu Binal program.”

The Whanu Binal program is free to complete and open to Indigenous business owners, managers, aspiring entrepreneurs, and traditional owners with solid business ideas, who want support to grow their business and develop local economic opportunities for their communities, particularly in the Surat Basin and Bowen Basin regions.

For more information or to submit an expression of interest, please visit the Whanu Binal page on the CQUniversity website.



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