The Illawarra Aboriginal Business Expo launched at Wollongong Art Gallery this week, showcasing the best of Aboriginal business and culture to the business community.

The event was organised by the partnership of Illawarra Aboriginal Business Network and Wollongong City Council. It was the first trade show of its kind that featured more than 30 Illawarra and Shoalhaven Aboriginal businesses that offer a unique selection of products and services.

Ms. Jasmine Sarin, a Kamilaroi & Jerrinja founder artist of JS Koori Designs, expressed her excitement to attend the expo and said she was hoping to gain exposure, and connections with other Aboriginal businesses.

“I’m very proud to have my business here and showcase my artworks promoting Dharawal culture and heritage,” Ms Sarin said.

“The expo creates a space where people engage and share ideas, making new connections and collaborating on new projects.”

While the event is primarily for businesses, community members are encouraged to drop into the expo. It’s an opportunity to help people connect comprehensively with First Nations culture and country through signature services and products.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said through the expo and other targeted events held in NSW Small Business Month, the Illawarra and Shoalhaven communities help support Aboriginal people living in the areas find social and economic empowerment.

“I encourage everyone, especially business owners, to visit the expo and learn more about the wide variety of Indigenous-owned and managed businesses that are making a difference in the community,” Cr Bradbery said.

“Hiring local Aboriginal businesses is a great way we can keep money in the region and support our local economy.”

The expo is one of three Council-run events held in October, which is not only NSW Small Business Month but also Indigenous Business Month. Through celebrated events, the government hopes to bring more opportunities for Aboriginal and Indigenous people to grow their businesses and cultures.