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Circle of trust: Lot Fourteen hub offers support for Indigenous-owned businesses

Posted June 6, 2022

Lot Fourteen and The Circle First Nations Entrepreneur Hub are making sure the spirit of reconciliation is kept burning all year round by supporting Aboriginal innovation and business.

By Ruby Stewart, Future Adelaide Intern

Yanun Project Services’ David Mallett and Amplified Beauty Australia chief executive Shahna Smith at the First Nations Entrepreneurship Hub at Lot Fourteen. Picture: Russell Millard

The spirit of reconciliation is burning bright at Adelaide’s Lot Fourteen.

A key part of the fabric of the innovation precinct is The Circle, an almost-120-member collective that provides South Australian Aboriginal-owned businesses with industry connections and room to grow and thrive.

“I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if it wasn’t for The Circle,” says Shahna Smith, Amplified Beauty Australia chief executive and member of The Circle.

“It’s like a community, you know, you meet one person and they’re going to support you back.”

“Reconciliation is all centred around strong relationships,” says Diane Dixon, State Project Lead for Lot Fourteen. The Circle endeavours to be an inclusive and a culturally safe space.

The Circle’s operations manager, Kelly May, says that a key part of its support for entrepreneurs is about encouraging people to be a part of the broader First Nations business sector while representing their business and communities.

Amplified Beauty Australia chief executive and member of The Circle Shahna Smith. Picture: Russell Millard

This is something David Mallett, from Yanun Project Services, strives to do through his company’s First Nations pathway program which provides Aboriginal youth with both education and experience within the project management industry.

“I’ve found that if they don’t know the pathways, they’re not going to choose that pathway,” says Mallett. “We can educate them on what type of opportunities might exist.”

“We want to deliver quality outputs and develop really good relationships with our clients and that’s what will get us business.

“Being First Nations is a great differentiator, but I don’t want that to be the only one.”

However, breaking into an industry that is not traditionally well represented by First Nations people does not come without its difficulties.

“I was experiencing that I was not being taken seriously … whether that was because I was Indigenous, whether it was because I was young,” says Smith.

The Circle is one part of Lot Fourteen’s mission to promote reconciliation and assist First Nations businesses in confronting these challenges.

“Every project we’ve picked up, we’ve had that element of First Nations awareness and cultural awareness built into it,” Dixon says.

The recent National Reconciliation Week represented an important time at Lot Fourteen as the district celebrated the significant part Aboriginal culture has within their year-round vision.

“The whole ‘be brave, make change’ theme for this year, I think really resonates with Lot Fourteen because that’s what we’re about,” says Dixon.

Original article published on

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