Developing a global entrepreneurial mindset among Indian and Queensland women

10 women entrepreneurs from India visit the Yarrabah Arts and Cultural Precinct near Cairns.

Despite increasing numbers of Indian women becoming entrepreneurs, knowing how and when to ‘go global’ can prevent them from achieving greater business success.

A group of 10 women entrepreneurs from across India completed an intensive week-long bootcamp as part of Griffith University’s program titled ‘Going Global — Enhancing the Intercultural Business Capabilities of Queensland and Indian Women Entrepreneurs’, led by Dr Dhara Shah and Professor Michelle Barker. The project was co-funded with the support of the Queensland Government’s International Education and Training Partnership Fund, managed by Study Queensland within Trade and Investment Queensland.

The bootcamp aimed to build the cross-cultural employability and entrepreneurial skills of 10 selected Indian women innovators, to showcase Queensland as a hub for entrepreneurs, and to link them with Queensland innovators.

Dr Dhara Shah said the opportunity for women to gain the skills to work in culturally, linguistically and socially different environments to overcome personal and professional challenges is what sets the program apart in a dense market of entrepreneurship courses.

“Our aim for female entrepreneurs from India and Queensland is to develop a global entrepreneurial mindset and realise that the international market is open to them,” Dr Shah said.

Showcasing entrepreneurship opportunities between Indian and Queensland entrepreneurs was a key focus of the course. Networking opportunities in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Cairns enabled them to learn from each other, find similarities in their businesses, and identify opportunities to work together.

The bootcamp included a trip to Cairns where the women met with members of CQUniversity’s First People’s Think Tank and other indigenous business women from the local community. Local and state politicians, and community leaders attended the welcome function and mingled with the women.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning (centre), surrounded by female entrepreneurs from India and Associate Professor Henrietta Marrie (CQU) and leading Indigenous business women from the Cairns region. (Photo credit: CQUniversity)

Following the event, the Indian entrepreneurs travelled to the Yarrabah Arts and Cultural Precinct to meet with the Manager, Mr Darrell Harris and local indigenous artists. The women were also welcomed by the Mayor of Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council, Mr Ross Andrews and Councillor Nadine Cannon. They toured the Aboriginal community to better understand the potential for business links in rural areas.

Indian entrepreneurs meet with indigenous women, and Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Councillor and Mayor at the Yarrabah Arts and Cultural Precinct.

Going Global participant and Founder of Dasha Food Products, Vaishnavi Rajan, said the course was a wonderful platform to learn. “We’re trying to bring out products from our part of the country to see if they can be accepted worldwide,” Ms Rajan said.

Dasha Food Products is an all-natural manufacturer of artisan flours made from Sprouted Pulses, grains and millets. “It’s also been beneficial to understand the palette and the nature of food accepted in this country. Trading of products is the essential idea.”

When speaking about the entrepreneurs she had connected with over the course of the bootcamp, Ms Rajan said, “though we come from different backgrounds with varied reasons to start up a business, we’ve found that there’s been a uniting factor that all of us have something to prove and something to give back to society.”

Another participant, the President of Shri Krishna Educational Society, Dr Shaloo Chopra, said “now we’re realising that we’re not the only ones who are going through these hurdles and struggles. It is happening everywhere in the world.”

Course participant Shakti Kaur in discussion with Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Councillor Nadine Cannon.

“These networking sessions have been amazing. They are very important for our businesses and our two nations,” Dr Chopra continued.

Equipped with new insights into Queensland and Australia as international markets, participants commented that the bootcamp empowered them to realise their full potential in business and ultimately enhance Queensland-India relationships, economic growth and job creation.