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Bridging the Gap: Bringing E-Commerce to Remote Communities

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By Published On: September 6, 20220 Comments

Life in remote communities can, at the best of times, leave members of these communities feeling disconnected and distant from the world around them and opportunities therein. Yet with the ongoing evolution of the digital world, the opportunity to eliminate these distances and provide opportunities to these remote communities is greater than ever before, if only still mired with initial obstacles and challenges in bridging the gap. 

For Make It Happen HQ, a First Nations female led organisation dedicated to providing entrepreneurial, e-commerce and tech-based training, bridging this gap is a mission as much as it is an opportunity. 

With passions for education and inclusion at the forefront of their aspirations, Make It Happen HQ’s next step in its mission to bridge the gap between remote communities and the digital landscape is set to bring it to remote Western Australia, with the organisation planning to hold a focused 2-day workshop in Broome designed to assist First Nation owned and operated businesses enter the world of e-commerce.

“First Nation people in remote communities like Broome, Western Australia have no access to entrepreneurial and tech-based training, let alone experts in the field,” says Adele Peek, co-founder of Make It Happen HQ, “We believe by partnering with experts in their field, such as Kelly Slessor, we can and will reestablish the First Nation entrepreneurship ecosystem in Broome and beyond.”

“Which will result in self-determination and Indigenous advancement through economic prosperity for our people.”

Kelly Slessor, an e-commerce coach, digital marketing expert and the founder of Shop You, has been tapped to lead the upcoming 2-day workshop. Having previously set a goal for herself to work with First Nation business owners to provide them with digital education, Slessor plans to offer participants opportunities to learn and develop skills in a variety of areas fundamental to success in the e-commerce space. This includes content creation, customer identification strategies, SEO basics and marketing strategies, in addition to assisting participants to develop and refine their familiarities with social media, platforms and plugins enabling them to better succeed in their e-commerce goals.

As a result, Slessor expects participants to walk away with a live online store and the tools, connections and mentoring opportunities designed to provide them with opportunities to grow these new endeavours.

“[The goal] is to empower First Nation people with new skills, knowledge and confidence that can be translated into having a tech presence that is beneficial to their new or existing business,” Slessor says, “and therefore promote economic prosperity.”

For Slessor and Make It Happen HQ, however, this economic prosperity means a lot more than just money in the bank.

“It is important to expose First Nation people and communities to e-commerce because it means they have a choice,” says Peek, “A choice in determining how they wish to live their lives, how they wish to raise their children and contribute to their community.”

Adele and Cara Peek, co-founders of Make It Happen HQ

Adele & Cara Peek, co-founders of Make It Happen HQ

Developing these skills in such remote communities also present additional benefits that Make It Happen HQ are equally passionate about in ensuring that the process of bridging this gap also provides the opportunity for the relationship between these remote communities and the digital landscape to promote greater celebration and embrace of the values and importance of First Nation culture – both for members of these communities and the broader community elsewhere.

“Being educated in e-commerce is about enhancing their access to opportunities that will result in being able to stay on country whilst sharing their products and services to a global market and a tech-based opportunity to celebrate their culture,” Peek continues, “A culture that is the oldest living culture in the world.”

The true breadth of the goals for this latest initiative are far from realised, however, with the ambitions of both Make It Happen HQ and Kelly Slessor aiming even higher with the assistance of industry.

“We are looking for software and technology providers to support the program, ultimately if we can provide guidance, mentorship, education and access to technology to enable a kick start until they become self-sufficient and self-funding,” Slessor says, “We develop a skillset in community that will have a huge impact.”

The 2-day workshop is expected to kick off in Broome on Wednesday 21 September. Businesses interested in getting involved  with the program can apply through https://www.makeithappenhq.com.au/eoi and access further information about the program’s goals and schedule via www.kellyslessor.com.

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