Helping First Nations businesses get started

March 17, 2024 BY

One of the highlights for Bek is being able to help First Nations people and Torres Strait Islanders succeed and live fulfilling lives.

Bek Lasky has a passion for helping others, with a strong focus on First Nations communities.

The Wakaya woman was born and raised on Wadarurrung country and is now the chief executive officer of Ngarrimili.

Ngarrimili supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses across the nation.

Lasky was studying business and the opportunity to join the organisation came up. She has now been working for the organisation for four years.

Woodrow Eke, Bek Lasky, Samantha French and Nevadah Ooi-Cleary are the team at Geelong’s Murran hub. Photo: VINNIE VAN OORSCHOT

“For me it was quite clear early on that I was really passionate about business and entrepreneurship as well as helping the community and helping others,” she said.

“My motivation comes from wanting to see First Nations people succeed and live fulfilling lives. We all grow up facing unique challenges and having different experiences.”

Founded in 2018 by Cormach Evans and Coco Eke, Ngarrimili is a not-for profit organisation dedicated to help First Nations people start their own businesses, helping to remove any barriers to entry.

Bek Lasky (right) has a passion for mental health and has incorporated it into her work and everyday life.

The organisation provides access to resources and knowledge around running a successful enterprise.

“We exist to support and nurture aspiring or established First Nations business owners, creatives, entrepreneurs, musicians – any individual that fits into that space,” Lasky said.

“We work with First Nations people that want to start Otheir own business or have an idea, or if they want to grow their business, we provide personally tailored and holistic business support and mentoring to help them achieve their goals.”

She has also made mental health part of the workplace, creating a culture where wellbeing is practised and it is okay to be vulnerable.

“I’m really passionate about mental health and talking about mental health and advocating about mental health illnesses through lived experience,” Lasky said.

Ngrrimili CEO Bek Lasky has been working for the organisation for the past four years.

“Without one’s spiritual, physical, mental and emotional wellbeing being at its fullest, and taken into consideration, then one’s business or whatever goal they are trying to achieve, won’t come to fruition without them focusing on their wellbeing.”

Now 23 years old, Lasky said running the company was definitely full on, and at times she felt like people did not take her seriously as a young female chief executive.

“I really enjoy the work I do, which makes it easier, but it can be hard relaxing and switching my brain off to enjoy life.”

For Lasky, one of the highlights of running the organisation has been the opportunity to meet different First Nations businesses from across the country and understand their stories.

“That’s why we do what we do; to see other people have success in their business is really lovely,” she said.

“I’ve been able to do so many exciting things with Ngarrimili and reaching different networks and connecting with different people is what really fills my soul in terms of what I like to do every day.”

The founding of Ngarrimili led to Murran hub, a space in Geelong’s Malop Street for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to come together.

Opening in December last year, Murran took two years to complete.

The project took two years to complete and opened late last year, offering a coworking space, conference rooms and gallery.

“We’ve had a really fun two years building Murran but especially the last six months getting Murran off the ground,” Lasky said.

“It’s been a huge achievement for the organisation and everyone involved to get Murran opened, and the community uptake has been amazing.

“Watching that grow as a space is going to be really amazing over the next few years, and for years to come.”

Moving forward, Ngarrimili aims to grow as an organisation, expanding into more parts of Australia and giving communities access to their services.

For Lasky, one of her greatest achievements is being promoted to chief executive of Ngarrimili, and she feels very lucky and grateful to hold the position.

For more information, head to ngarrimili.org.au





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