Inclusive Economy | November 15, 2023

Jack Dorsey’s Block backs First Australians Capital for Indigenous-led enterprises

Roodgally Senatus
ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, November 15 — Like Indigenous communities in the US, Canada and other countries, many first, or Aboriginal, Australians lack access to housing, employment, health and education services, as well as capital to build their businesses.

First Australians Capital, an Indigenous-led nonprofit investment and advisory firm, is raising a $30 million catalytic impact fund to provide patient debt capital to Indigenous enterprises.

“Our approach is relational and grounded in Indigenous ways of connecting and trading, an approach that has been built on thousands of years of Indigenous business practices,” First Australians Capital’s Tiarne Shutt told ImpactAlpha.

A $3 million allocation from Block (formerly Square), led by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, brings the fund’s total commitments to roughly $18 million.

Inclusive finance

The catalytic impact fund is “our first social impact investment here” in Australia, said Dorsey. “We know first-hand that many people are left out of the economy by mainstream services.” Dorsey says Australia is Block’s largest market outside of the US.

Block backed First Australians Capital through its $100 million US social impact fund launched in September 2020, which included a $10 million set-aside for other countries. In Canada, Block supported the $153 million Indigenous Growth Fund, managed by the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association, which provides loans to Indigenous-led financial institutions to lend to Indigenous businesses in Canada.