Today we are introducing you to Natasha, owner of Kimberley Jiygas which is an organisation that empowers Indigenous women in the Kimberley Region.
Kimberley Jiygas offers numerous services such as leadership development sessions with Aboriginal women, guest speakers, cultural and community intelligence, event management, and business support. Natasha has just started her own podcast called Kimberley She’ro.
“Aboriginal women’s voices are the minority within a minority and the least likely to be heard in mainstream media. Podcasts and technology have given us this awesome platform to basically reach the whole world.”
Keep reading to hear more about Natasha’s business journey and her experience working with Many Rivers business coach, Maree.
My business is called Kimberley Jiygas (Birds) and it’s a collective of Kimberley Indigenous women influencing social change in the Kimberley. I have been operating Kimberley Jiygas since October 2018.
I have been working in community development for 25 years, primarily within Indigenous Affairs and social justice spaces. That has been my passion and my interest all of my life.
I’m a first-generation business owner. I never would have done this without my friend who encouraged me. She told me that I had the base skills that I need to run a business. It was a bit scary but at the same time I think there was a readiness about me to start something new so that was taking away some of the fear. I prepared well for it and I wasn’t silly about it. This is what I am trying to tell other Aboriginal people, don’t be silly about it you have to think it through.
You have to have some savings and you have to go into business when its busy (eg the Dry Season). You’d never enter business in December, January or February because nothing happens in the Kimberley then. It is too hot, everyone is asleep! You have to have some regular income as Maree calls it. Whether you just work part-time two days a week to start with to give yourself something.
Originally, I had the idea of printing on fabrics, but when I did the business plan and created protypes and then I started thinking through it logically. I don’t have the money to go and buy thousands of meters of this fabric. Be realistic. Consultancy – what do I need? Nothing! I rock up at an event with a piece of paper, and plan and pen. I offer multiple services that cost me nothing to outline in the beginning and then I just rock up and deliver.
Working with Many Rivers
I touched base with them a few times and they helped me with my business plan and budget and get my head around business. I’ve never done business before, so I had no idea what I was doing. I needed the support of women who were more experienced than me.
Giving me confidence and helping me to think through business. So much of business is common sense but if no one has ever told you that in simple terms sometimes you can’t think of it yourself. Especially when no one in your family has ever done business before. So giving me the confidence and giving me direction where other support agencies existed.
The biggest success has been seeing the wonderful response and increase of self-esteem by Aboriginal women who are being honoured on the Kimbereley Jiyigas page.
The challenge is to be learning something all the time. Stuff I would rather not learn about, and have no interest in. But I have to do it because it’s part of growing a business. The challenge is the on-going learning, adapting to environment, and knowing the true value of your work. And making sure that success can be measured.
Future Goals for Kimberley Jiygas
I hope to promote Aboriginal Australian culture in a positive way so that Australia is proud of Aboriginal people. I hope that we are accepted for who we are and that Aboriginal women are given platforms for the rest of the country to hear their voices.
Thanks Natasha for sharing the business journey of Kimberley Jiygas. We know that there are many other people out there looking to take the next step towards setting up their own business. Your story will inspire them on the next stage of their business creation.
Do you have a passion or small business idea? Do you have a business you would like to expand or would like some business coaching support?
We’re here to help.
Please take short, easy Small Business Self Assessment and see if we are right for you.
Keen to read about another Many Rivers client story? Read about Serena who runs Grassroots Mentoring and Leadership program to support youth in Darwin