Success story set to inspire
TWO people who discovered first-hand the power of business mentoring for indigenous people are ready to pass on their knowledge.
Sonya Ingra and Daniel Ryan are now running a successful business, and it all started two years ago when they received mentoring.
Nowadays their business, Dhurawine Contractors Pty Ltd, is going strongly in a joint venture with McMahon Contractors.
The Dhurawine-McMahon joint venture provides labour hire as well as setting up traineeships, scholarships and apprenticeships. It has about 20 workers and trainees on Curtis Island and out at the coal mines.
Lew Opie, who is now a consultant for the Murrie Centre project, was engaged by Rio Tinto Alcan to act as a mentor for the pair, in a system similar to the small business incubator planned for the new centre.
"Rio Tinto Alcan engaged Lew (Opie) as a consultant so we could start small businesses in the area," Mr Ryan said.
"He did a business plan and helped us get those plans up and running."
With Mr Opie's help, Mr Ryan and Ms Ingra applied for a grant through the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation.
"We wanted to show indigenous people that you can get out there, get off your asses and really achieve something," Mr Ryan said.
Now they are excited about being involved at the planned Murri Centre.
"We want to be at the forefront of showing young indigenous people how to go about setting up businesses, talking to industries," Mr Ryan said.
Ms Ingra said because they had succeeded in building a business, other members of the indigenous community saw them as role models, allowing them to take a lead role and make a difference.