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Blogs and Op-Eds by the Youth Co:lab team and contributors from our extensive network of changemakers. 

  • Writer's pictureYouth Co:Lab

Equipping young Indigenous Australians to be investor-ready

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

Dream Venture partners with some of the 2022 Masterclass seed funding recipients.

Youth Co:Lab, co-led United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Citi Foundation has partnered with the Minderoo Foundation Generation One team on the Dream Venture Masterclass Youth Cohort in support of young Indigenous entrepreneurs. The Dream Venture Masterclasses are dedicated to equipping Indigenous Australians with the connections, capabilities and access to capital to become investor-ready.

As part of the program, five young, inspiring Indigenous business leaders took home a share of $75,000 in seed money to invest in and grow their emerging businesses. This followed a competitive pitching process and mentoring program, which partnered the entrepreneurs with business leaders from Citi, Atlassian, Blackbird VC, and many more.

Commenting on the initiative Beniam Gebrezghi, Programme Specialist, Youth and Civil Society, UNDP in Asia and the Pacific said “At Youth Co:Lab, together with our co-leads Citi Foundation, we are excited to have partnered with the Minderoo Foundation to support young Indigenous entrepreneurs. Leaving no one behind is at the core of our work and programming, and the Dream Venture Masterclass will only help us further realise the vision of empowering all youth. Congratulations to all the winners, and we look forward to enabling young founders in Australia and making them a part of our Asia-Pacific region-wide Youth Co:Lab community.” – Beniam Gebrezghi, Programme Specialist, Youth and Civil Society, UNDP in Asia and the Pacific.

Collaborating with Generation One, Youth Co:Lab launched its inaugural event in Australia this year. Across the intensive four-week accelerator program, 20 young Indigenous entrepreneurs received coaching and mentorship promoting business growth, investment and access to networks.

“These passionate, inspiring, and innovative young Indigenous entrepreneurs have shown they have the skills and potential to advance the Sustainable Development Goals and influence the economic, social, and environmental outcomes of future generations” – said Katrina Efthim, Citi Australia, Managing Director.

An agriculture start-up, a regenerative seaweed business and an art-monetisation technology platform were among the winners selected at an event held at the Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship in Melbourne in August 2022.

“We must continue to back the next generation of Indigenous business leaders and entrepreneurs. Research shows that majority-owned Indigenous businesses are up to 100 times more likely to employ Indigenous workers than other Australian businesses, and their growth can start a chain reaction that accelerates Indigenous employment parity.” – said Shelley Cable, Generation One Director

The seed funding was shared between the finalists and included awards for impact, perseverance and growth potential across a youth cohort for Indigenous entrepreneurs aged 18-30 to invest in and grow the businesses that they pitched at the Dream Venture Masterclasses.

Find out more about the Dream Venture Masterclass 2022 Winners


Dream Venture is an Australian first initiative of Generation One with Youth Co:Lab where young entrepreneurs are connected with the best and brightest from the Asia Pacific, tapped into global networks, and secured mentorship from some of the region’s most successful founders. For further Information visit: Dream Venture.


Co-created in 2017 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab aims to establish a common agenda for countries in the Asia-Pacific region to empower and invest in youth so that they can accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship. Read more about Youth Co:Lab here.

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