American Express, in partnership with Rare Birds, has opened applications for its inaugural First Nations Business Growth Program, supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business leaders. 

The 12-month pilot program will see 20 Supply Nation Certified businesses receive backing from American Express and Rare Birds in the form of mentorship, masterclasses and virtual networking events. 

American Express vice president, Stephen Pendergast said, “The First Nations Business Growth Program is about supporting financial resilience within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business community and celebrating their contribution to our diverse neighbourhoods.” 

Rare Birds founder and CEO, Jo Burston said,“I like to call high-impact mentoring the ‘MBA of Life Skills’. It isn’t theory; it’s hard-learned experience that’s passed on through one-to-one open and trusting dialogue.” 

Former Rare Birds mentee Leah Cameron, principal solicitor Marrawah Law, advocates the value of mentoring as the First Nations Business Growth Program ambassador.

“I found my mentoring program incredibly beneficial for both personal growth and business development. Not only did I learn invaluable skills, but I also gained confidence, and I am delighted to be the Program’s ambassador,” she said.

“The First Nations Business Growth Program is part of American Express’ ongoing commitment to closing the inequality gap and to driving inclusive initiatives as we continue our Reconciliation Action Plan journey,” Pendergast added.

Applications are now open and close at 5pm AEDT, 24 September 2021. The selected 20 Supply Nation Certified First Nations businesses will begin their mentee journey in November 2021.