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National Reconciliation Week 2023: A Message from our CEO


This year's theme for National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June) - Be a Voice for Generations - is a timely reminder for all Australians to reflect on our continuing progress towards a reconciled Australia, and look towards the ways in which we can actively be a voice for change in our everyday lives. Each of us is accountable to ourselves and to others, and our actions today, no matter how small, will have a lasting impact on future generations.

When we look back through history, we see that each generation of Australians has made progress toward healing past wounds, acknowledging past wrongs, and seeking to close the gap. But we still have a road to travel. 2023 gives all Australians the opportunity to achieve another positive milestone in our nation’s story and evolution. This will not be the end of the journey. In the world of innovation and entrepreneurship, we know that progress toward any goal is rarely linear. Entrepreneurs and innovators, start-ups, and businesses experience failure and setbacks on a regular basis; but we learn from every misstep, every setback, every challenge, and we inject those learnings into doing better, thinking better, and being better.

At the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship (SSE), we believe that it takes a village to raise an entrepreneur, and it will take all of us partnering together, in respectful dialogue and with open minds, to be the voice for future generations.

All people should share in and be given a chance to contribute to the prosperity of our times, strengthening our world for future generations, and this will come from sharing knowledge and learning from each other. Economic self-determination is a human right for all, and at SSE we are co-creating educational experiences and programs that inspire transformation for our participants, their communities, and for the spaces in which they live, work, and play. At SSE we believe that building skills and capability are essential attributes for improved economic dynamism and knowledge-intensive jobs growth.

At SSE we see a world where every Australian is empowered with the skills, capability, and learning opportunities to overcome barriers to employment and education, and we are actively seeking leaders to partner with us to deliver on these shared opportunities of creating improved outcomes for more people. We know that we will always achieve more and be better together.

Place-based, community-led programs for all

Since 2016, SSE has been delivering impact across New South Wales and beyond, working in collaboration with industry, government, councils, community, and education providers to help build Australia's skills economy and remove barriers to employment for more Australians. SSE’s mission is to build a nationwide culture of entrepreneurialism and shared prosperity by delivering topical, practical, work-relevant training and learning pathways. Our core beliefs recognise and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their diverse knowledge systems, and we commit to honouring and incorporating these learnings in all we do.

Our programs are place-based, community-led, and collaborative; we engage with local community members and subject matter experts to co-design and co-deliver community-relevant programs, involving local community entrepreneurs, subject-matter experts, and Elders of the community to ensure our programs are relevant, culturally aligned and meaningful to the communities with whom we partner.

Smiling educator kneeling at white desk assisting young Gomeroi man with coursework

Growing tomorrow’s leaders today

Some of our previous experiences partnering with Aboriginal communities include Invest in Yourself: Exploring Money & Self Employment, which is delivered in partnership with the Department of Regional NSW New England North West (DRNSW) and designed to increase self-agency, independence, and economic prosperity through learning modules that include financial literacy, entrepreneurship, budgeting, and self-employment.

The program was recently delivered in Tamworth to a group of Aboriginal young people in partnership with the inspiring Gomeroi Culture Academy and local Gomeroi entrepreneur Kayleb Waters-Sampson, who brought a wealth of personal experience and professional expertise to his role as a program Mentor.

Marc Sutherland, Director of the Gomeroi Culture Academy beautifully articulated how "[i]dentity is the foundation for self-growth [and] if we can build that strong sense of identity then it's going to lay the platform for young people to move into spaces they're going to choose.”

Tellingly, every business created by these young people participating in SSE’s program had a focus on community, cultural, or social outcomes. Purpose before (though not at the expense of) profit.

We're now looking forward to delivering the program to a fresh cohort of 12–24-year-olds in Gunnedah in July, and in eight regional locations across NSW later this year.

Australia’s First Nations communities possess a wealth of considerable talent and many centuries of practiced entrepreneurship, scholarship, sustainability, and well-being. Some of the skills deployed by today’s entrepreneurs can be recognised through the histories and stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. So this year and always, SSE acknowledges and strives to learn from the leadership and voices of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partners, mentors, colleagues, and learners.

Now more than ever before, it is not a time to remain silent. It's time for all Australians to have, and be, a voice and a positive force for change through the language we use, how we treat each other, how we work together, and how we respect and support each other. The future of our nation depends on it!