Our Purpose & Story

Welcome to Country aims to champion the growth of wealth and success within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We want to support economic self-sufficiency, improving self-determination, and preserving and passing on culture. We are driven by social impact. 

We recognise that First Nations’ people have been excluded from economic opportunity and independence. In 2019 Welcome to Country created our bespoke marketplace for First Nations’ entrepreneurs to access greater economic opportunities and to build a flourishing economic network.

We hope to celebrate and recognise the valuable contribution of Aboriginal and/ or Torres Strait Islander peoples with the goal of generating revenue and creating brand awareness. 

We are a First Nations’ led and operated national organisation, from our Board, to our leadership team and staff members. We are proud of this representation and will continue along this path. Our head office is located in Glebe on the Country of the Gadigal People. 

As a small social enterprise, Welcome to Country recognises it cannot achieve the impact it seeks alone. Welcome to Country supports our valued operators and suppliers to more easily reach consumers and, we hope, build in collaboration. We deliver a competitive marketplace to support our suppliers in selling their experiences and products and connect to our key stakeholders and partners. We are so proud of having a diverse and inclusive workforce with varied and extensive career journeys.

In 2022 our CEO Desmond Campbell started at Welcome to Country and as he puts it; “We are a young social enterprise operating in a complex but exciting ecosystem of empowering First Nations’ people to have control of their destiny. As the CEO,  I’m proud to be working with such strong entrepreneurs, business leaders, and cultural leaders.

“We will continue to grow Welcome to Country to meet the demand of ethical and meaningful trading, at the same time building capacity of the industry to be more inclusive and recognise the positive impact of First Nations’ entrepreneurship.”
We are proud that in FY23 over $1,300,000 of revenue was given back to First Nations’ entrepreneurs and at the end of March 2024, we have 204 businesses on our platform with over 250 experiences and over 1000 products. 

Our Story

Welcome to Country is a not-for-profit social enterprise whose purpose is to address employment and economic development outcomes in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. As a not for profit driven by our purpose, everything we do is focused on delivering direct outcomes to Aboriginal and Torres Strait people and communities.

We are very proud to be a First Nations led and operated organisation from our Board, our CEO, Leadership Team and staff. We are on a journey of implementing a self-determination model independent from non-Indigenous funders and ensuring we have autonomy in representing our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander entrepreneurs and business leaders.  

Our History

When we set out on this journey, we were looking for ways in which the collective skills of a group of passionate Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people could be applied to amplify outcomes for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Largely this skills set was centred in a deep knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and entrepreneurial skills.

Initially established as a project of First Australians Capital Limited (a registered charity) with financial support from Indigenous Capital Limited and a private philanthropic family the project explored ideas that would enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait entrepreneurs and business to be established and grow. The core of this was an online platform called Start Your Own Business.

Through a discovery workshop supported by Westpac, the idea was refined and eventually it was agreed that one of the greatest opportunities was within the tourism sector and that the project should refocus on building a marketplace for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences.

The creation of a marketplace for art and product was always an element of the Welcome to Country business model. This element was accelerated with the advent of COVID-19. The decision was made to expedite the creation of the marketplace to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts, art centres and communities with a revenue stream during this time.

 Our Values