During Indigenous Business Month, The Circle, at Lot Fourteen, is celebrating SA’s diverse portfolio of First Nations-owned businesses with an exciting event at the Adelaide Showground on 5 October, 2023. We speak to some of the inspiring business owners who will be there.
Proudly presented by First Nations Entrepreneur Hub The Circle, SA’s First Nations Business Showcase is back, and it’s bigger and better than last year’s inaugural event.
The Showcase is an opportunity for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses to exhibit their products and services, and is a celebration of First Nations representation across all SA sectors. Last year’s event saw up to 100 Indigenous business owners show their wares and services to prospective buyers. This year, there’ll be almost 140 booths filled with native food products, skincare, makeup, cranes (no joke!) and just about everything else between – plus a new creative corridor dedicated to artists and creatives.
The event gives First Nations businesses the opportunity to be in control of promoting their own stories, products and services to industry and government, says The Circle Operations Manager Kelly May.
“It’s an amazing way to bring businesses together and also to celebrate and acknowledge the diversity and depth of the First Nations businesses in the state – to have 135 businesses ready to exhibit is a real credit to the sector itself,” she says.
While the event is targeted towards buyers from government and industry, almost all of the showcasing businesses sell their products and services via the usual means of ecommerce and social media.
Here are three of the 135 amazing businesses that’ll be there.
Munda Wines crafts premium wines sourced from world-renowned growing regions in the land we now call Australia. The business’s philosophy is to express a deep connection to munda – which is Wirangu and Kokatha for land or country – specifically the traditional Aboriginal country from which the fruit was sourced.
“Some of the names being used in the wine industry are Indigenous names, but we don’t talk about that history,” says Managing Director Damien Smith. He’s referring to names like Yulumba, Koonunga Hill (Penfolds), and Wirra Wirra.
“All of these names have significant meanings, but we don’t really delve deeper than European history,” he says.
“McLaren Vale is yet to reach 200 years, but Kaurna country has more than 40,000 years of history.”
Munda Wines is about exploring and celebrating the long history that stands within the varied countries of South Australia. It’s about understanding the qualities of different lands, and how these shape a wine’s personality.
“My ancestors innately understood the seasons, adapting lifestyle patterns to work in harmony with munda,” says Munda Wines Owner/Director Paul Vandenbergh.
However when Europeans settled here, their understanding of soil and agriculture was limited to their European experience. Munda Wines embraces learnings from First Nations people with a deep understanding of the munda they live on – such as Vandenbergh’s ancestors – gained through thousands of years of storytelling.
“We are a very young business telling an old story,” says Damien.
“The wine world has had little, if any, Indigenous representation. We want to respect and understand our country and land, and start telling the stories of how Indigenous culture applies to the Australian wine industry.”
Munda Wines currently sells three varieties – the Munda Walgalu Country Chardonnay, Munda Ngadjuri + Peramangk Country Grenache, and Munda Kaurna Country Blewitt Springs Syrah.
“We’re telling three stories, but our goal is to tell more,” says Damien.
Kath Moore Art
Kath Moore is a proud Ngarrindjeri and Kaurna contemporary Aboriginal artist. She was taught to paint by her Aunty Pam, and the inspiration for her beautiful work comes from her Nan’s country, the Coorong.
“My art tells the stories of my Nan’s life growing up on the mission, stories of the Ngarrindjeri people as well as my own story, of my family and raising two children in Adelaide,” says Kath.
“When you purchase a piece of my art, you are taking home a piece of my culture to share with your family and friends.
“Telling the stories of the Ngarrindjeri and Kaurna people is sharing over 40,000 years of a rich culture that has been passed down from my ancestors.
“It means the art I create is of this time and also, importantly for me, that a lineage remains intact.”
Snooty Tooty, Dragonfly Springwater and Andy’s Water Transport
Saltwater woman and descendant of the Larrakia nation Charmaine Richards is one busy lady. She owns not one, not two, but three businesses. It all started in 1991, and more than three decades later she’s backed by a big team achieving success left, right and centre.
Water is her main game. One of her businesses is Dragonfly Springwater – bottled pristine spring water sourced from her properties in the Adelaide Hills region – which “celebrates the sustainable essence of First Nations culture,” she says.
Then there’s Andy’s Water Transport, a business that focuses on bulk water (up to 24,500 litres can be carried by a single vehicle!) for a range of purposes including emergency supply, to fill dams and livestock troughs, and to supply water at festivals and other events.
Snooty Tooty – “Australia’s most luxurious portable restrooms” – is Charmaine’s newest (but no less important) baby. Unlike traditional portaloos, Snooty Tooty’s are spacious, comfortable and have access to running water.
“It’s been a real journey,” says Charmaine. “Not just for me, but for all the family.”
Charmaine’s workload is far from maxed out – she has recently purchased another property “with amazing spring water”, and has grand plans for Snooty Tooty.
“It’s not about greed,” she says. “I want to share the success with the people I work with and who helped me along the way. That’s really important to me, because we did it together.”
The First Nations Business Showcase 2023 will take place on Thursday, 5 October, at the Adelaide Showgrounds between 10am and 3pm.
To learn more about the event, click here. To register your attendance, head to the event page on Humanitix. Registration is free.
Want more? Here are five places in South Australia you can learn about First Nations culture.