Leesa Watego's journey from blogging to Indigenous Business Month
For educator and internet entrepreneur Leesa Watego, the phrase "not quite cooked" neatly sums up her personal philosophy.
"It's probably the best description of how I see the world," she says.
"I have very few answers to anything. If I'm in a room and discussing a problem, my brain is going at a million miles an hour because of all the questions I want to ask."
That mindset of constant curiosity and discovery led Leesa to found her own creative agency, as well as become one of the key players behind Indigenous Business Month, which celebrates five years this October.
"I was an academic, lecturing in Aboriginal Studies, and bringing up a young family," Leesa says of her journey to becoming an entrepreneur.
"In 2008, I came across the idea of blogs and started my own personal blog, Not Quite Cooked, which was a place for me to just think out loud. It started to attract other Indigenous bloggers and Deadly Bloggers was born."
Deadly Bloggers is the first and only directory of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander bloggers covering everything from design to business, literature to pop culture. It's one of three brands operating under the umbrella of Iscariot Media, the creative agency founded by Ms Watego.
"Mainstream media frames indigeneity in ways that are not representative of how we see the world or the way we enact the world. Deadly Bloggers features writing by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and it frames the issues in ways that are relevant to us," Leesa says.
"For me, providing a space for Indigenous thinkers to explore their ideas is critical to how we develop our culture."
That idea was also the founding principle behind Indigenous Business Month, which grew out of the MURRA Indigenous Business Program at Melbourne Business School.
Leesa was one of three founders for the initiative, along with fellow MURRA graduate Mayrah Sonter and Associate Professor Michelle Evans, director of the program.
"Indigenous Business Month is a great example of a community-led initiative that has made its way into the boardrooms of top Australian firms," Leesa says.
"We have partnerships with PwC which has provided consulting support to Indigenous firms, and this year, we're delighted to welcome IAG into the fold, not to mention our founding partner City of Sydney who has been with us from the beginning."
Now in its fifth year, Indigenous Business Month will see events across Australia during October bring together new and established Indigenous entrepreneurs, government and corporate community members to network and share expertise.
The theme for 2019 is "Indigenous Ingenuity", which lies at the heart of how Indigenous entrepreneurs bring their cultural knowledge to solving problems and finding original solutions that lead to business opportunities.
"If there is one message that I want people to take from Indigenous Business Month, it's to keep on asking questions," Leesa says.
"That journey to finding the answers will lead you to the most amazing places. My own entrepreneurial journey started because I knew my ideas weren’t quite cooked and I went looking for answers."
For more information and a full list of events, visit the Indigenous Business Month website.