Tech for Good: Indigenous Organisations to Watch
There has been a significant focus on promoting and growing organisations founded by Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people and/or those with an Indigenous focus in Australia. Barayamal is evidence of this, a startup accelerator designed to inspire, educate and support First Nations youth and budding entrepreneurs through technology and entrepreneurship. Barayamal build technology solutions, run business accelerator programs, free events, the Indigipreneur podcast (recommended), school-based education and more.
First Australians Capital also provides Indigenous Australians with commercial finance to grow their businesses. They do this by strengthening cultural, creative and economic capital.
Both Barayamal and First Australians Capital exist to bridge the gap between Indigenous entrepreneurs and support services. Here are three deadly tech-based startups designed to benefit Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia. They’re all doing some incredible stuff in their respective communities!
Common Ground is a digital platform designed to help Australians see the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. The young Founder, Rona Glynn-McDonald, is a proud Kaytetye woman, with a background in economics and a passion for disruptive ideas.
The platform provides access to engaging and authentic content that helps bridge the gap in knowledge. According to the Australian Reconciliation Barometer (2016), 85% of Australians believe it is important to know about the histories of our First Peoples, but only 42% believe they have a high knowledge of that history. Common Ground aims to improve that statistic.
If you’re interested in reading about Kinship Systems, whether to use Indigenous or Aboriginal when writing or speaking about our First Australians, or whether you’re curious about Indigenous languages, Common Ground is the place to go.
Launched in July this year, ThisIsMyMob is designed to connect Indigenous people, their families and their mobs through tech. Developed by a small team of passionate Indigenous engineers and IT specialists at the University of Technology, the app is designed to both provide a safe space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through social connection and provide a pathway to communicate with government, industry and organisational information. It will also enhance their digital literacy skills.
ThisIsMyMob is the first to apply the Postcolonial Computing framework to their design and leadership. The project will also inform the dev elopement of post-secondary curricula for Indigenous software engineering, and create pathways towards an environment that supports Indigenous developers, entrepreneurs and start-ups to manage the development and ongoing operation of Indigenous-owned technology.
The app is currently being tested and trialled with 5 mobs around Australia.
In 2018, Indigital’s CEO and Founder Mikaela Jade was awarded the Veuve Clicquot New Generation Award and the InStyle Women of Style Creative Visionary and Judges Award. She’s passionate about restoring, preserving and sharing the stories of her people.
Indigital do a number of things, including making mixed and augmented reality apps, using drones and 4D mapping to bring Indigenous cultures digitally alive in the landscape. Their app, Indigital Storytelling, works in a similar fashion to Pokemon Go. The user of the app points their phone at a symbol, object or sacred site and an animation opens up to tell its story.
Indigital also designs standard apps and augmented reality merchandise. They advocate for Indigenous digital rights at United Nations forums and events, too, just incase the above wasn’t enough. What a company!
Header painting by artist Katherine Marshall Nakamarra