Sydney, 19 December 2017 – Mastercard has announced a new partnership with First Australians Capital (FAC), an organization committed to enabling Indigenous entrepreneurs and enterprises, which will see it fund transformational business education opportunities for promising Aboriginal start-ups.

From January 1st 2018, Aboriginal entrepreneurs from up to 30 businesses – at least 80% of which will be led by women, will be funded by Mastercard to access the world-class Murra Program at Melbourne Business School. Attendance to the program will give entrepreneurs access to a series of masterclasses at the MBA level, as well as yearlong access to industry-specific mentorship opportunities.

First Australians Capital is focused on helping Indigenous entrepreneurs gain access to capital and industry networks so they can expand and enhance their business ideas and be empowered to drive economic success.

Richard Wormald, Divisional President – Australasia at Mastercard said, “Mastercard is extremely proud of its new relationship with First Australians Capital which is making a real difference to supporting a culture of Indigenous entrepreneurialism and business success across Australia. Owning a business is a powerful way for an individual to take control of the economic future of their families and communities. This is especially true in remote Australia where many ideas begin but the opportunities from local economies are small.  We’re excited about investing in today’s Indigenous entrepreneurs and contributing to the great work of First Australians Capital in supporting Australians focused on building their own business knowledge, assets and wealth.”

Mastercard has a global imperative to advance sustainable and equitable economic growth and financial inclusion. It believes that growing economies and shared prosperity depend on individuals and communities being connected to the networks that drive the modern economy. The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, based in New York, activates the core assets of the company to build and strengthen these connections. It focuses on research, programs, data philanthropy, and partnerships that propel broad-based opportunity and economic gains. As a company, Mastercard is committed to the philosophy of “Doing Well and Doing Good.”

Historical policies in Australia which have restricted Indigenous wealth, home ownership, business ownership and economic growth opportunities have had a significant impact on the ability of Aboriginal Australians to grow wealth and start businesses. Recognizing the great ideas and capabilities within this community and providing investment to support these will help create a positive cycle of economic empowerment which will build over time.

The Murra Indigenous Business Master Class Program (The Murra Program) consists of six classes for established Indigenous Australian Business owners and leaders. Modules are delivered intensively at the Melbourne Business School in Carlton, Victoria and taught by the world leading institution. The sessions cover business strategy, finance, marketing, leadership, negotiations, and leading effective workforces.

Mastercard’s investment into the program through its partnership with FAC will enable up to 30 participants to enroll in the program. In addition, participants will receive industry specific-mentoring from business leaders, for monthly engagements for 12 months after the completion of the program. Mastercard will also support further networking between program participants, mentors and Mastercard employees, and offer digital and e-payments information tutorials and general business program training to help participants grow their businesses.

80% of businesses funded to attend the program are led by women, and Wormald believes Indigenous women have a particularly important role to play as entrepreneurs.

“Providing diverse experiences, access to varied cultures and different points of view are at the heart of innovation. Women bring a unique perspective for their customers, and their involvement in these kinds of programs forges a pathway for their children and other members of the community to follow,” said Wormald.

Indigenous businesses are 100 times more likely to employ other Indigenous people1, which presents further opportunity to close the economic gap for Indigenous communities.

Commenting on the partnership, Jocelyn King, CEO at First Australians Capital said, “Our people have been in business for over 60,000 years, the original innovators of the sharing economy. We are so pleased to have Mastercard joining us as a partner on this journey to enable us to connect Aboriginal entrepreneurs to a world-class program matching them with industry specific mentoring to help grow sustainable and purposeful businesses.”

The program is open to applicants from all parts of Australia, with organisations including Social Ventures Australia, Indigenous Business Australia, Supply Nation and Indigenous chambers of commerce working in partnership with FAC to identify candidates who can benefit most from program participation.

1 Source: Indigenous Employment and Businesses: Whose Business is it to Employ Indigenous Workers? B.Hunter, Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University College of Arts & Social Sciences

About Mastercard
Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry.  We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.  Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.  Follow us on Twitter @MastercardAP and @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

About First Australians Capital
First Australians Capital’s mission is to invest in Indigenous economic independence by linking 60,000 years of Indigenous business to the modern marketplace. We believe that Indigenous businesses can drive a new economy for the benefit of all Australians.

Mastercard Communications Contact:
Sarah Trethewy, (02) 9994,4461
strethewy@webershandwick.com