Women’s Business: Mayrah Sonter

23rd October 2021

My name is Mayrah I’m the Co-founder and Director at 33 Creative, an Aboriginal Media, Communications and Events business based on Gadigal land in Sydney.

I’m a proud Wiradjuri woman with over fifteen years of experience producing events and media for corporate and government organisations.

I’m currently chair of the national Aboriginal and Islander skills development association (NAISDA), is a member of the National Indigenous Culinary Institute, the Google RAP Advisory Council and a member of the Commonwealth Bank’s Indigenous Advisory Committee.

When some well-deserved downtime calls, you’ll likely find me hanging out with my family, meticulously planning some other aspect of my life, or sunning by the beach with a book in hand and my weekly planner never far from reach.

Eight years ago I was participating in the MURRA Indigenous Business Master Class program at the Melbourne Business School.

‘MURRA’ means ‘fish net’ in the Woi Wurrung language of the Wurundjeri people of Melbourne and was gifted to the program to reflect the program itself- where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander entrepreneurs come together, are fed with business knowledge and skills, and then set free back into the community.

In our last class, we were discussing how we could use the business knowledge we had learnt from our time at MURRA to help our communities. We discussed possible ideas such as a Junior MURRA for high school students or potential scholarships to business school for other First Nations entrepreneurs that followed, but whatever we decided, we knew we needed a platform to celebrate Indigenous business success and what that looked like to us, as First Nations people.

I am a big believer in you can’t be what you can’t see and coming from a communications background, I know the importance of sharing these stories.

So, we pitched the idea of creating a month (because a day or a week is not enough!) to celebrate Indigenous business success – where we would host events to bring people together, utilise social media to connect and traditional media to profile Indigenous businesses right across the country.

And so Indigenous Business Month was born.

It was the start of a movement, by us and for us, that has created a space for us to define what business success means to us and to dream a future for ourselves and our communities. Each year my fellow co-founders Dr Michelle Evans of the Dilin Duwa Centre for Indigenous Business Leadership and Leesa Watego of Iscariot Media, and our wonderful team at 33 Creative share our time, expertise and networks to celebrate Indigenous Business Month each October. We have been joined by our MURRA alumni and the broader Indigenous business sector and broader Australian business community to build a platform of self-determination in action and are proud to have reached our seventh year.

This year’s theme ‘Powering the Indigenous Economy’ asks everyone to reflect on what they can do at an individual, organisational, community and national level to help build the Indigenous economy. It is up to all of us. Whether its buying from an Indigenous business, building into your supply chain or simply connecting other businesses amongst your networks.

It is also a call to big business – what are you doing to power the Indigenous economy?

If you are not purchasing from Indigenous Businesses, you are missing out. You have a lot to gain in purchasing from Indigenous business beyond just the product or service. In many cases, buying from an Indigenous business creates a two-way exchange – a sharing of knowledge and cultural that shifts the paradigm that puts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a position of strength and success.

I am excited to see all the wonderful stories of Indigenous businesses throughout the month of October and to be a part of getting our stories out there. There are also lots of wonderful events where you can connect, learn and continue on your business journey.

Here are a couple of online events worth checking out featuring some amazing Indigenous Businesswomen:

So this is for you. Our sisters, our nieces and daughters and all the men in our families too. Know that you can be what you want to be and create your own path in life that is self-determining and created by you, according to your values and aspirations for your family and community.

May we all continue to dream together. Keep up the great work. You and your business are making a difference – be sure to let us know about it.

Happy Indigenous Business Month!

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