Block, Inc. (NYSE: SQ), formerly known as Square, Inc., has made a significant investment in Australia’s Indigenous business sector. The global technology company, renowned for its Square and Afterpay services, has committed AUD$3 million to a new fund established by First Australians Capital (FAC). This investment marks Block’s first social impact investment in Australia and is a part of its broader USD$100 million social impact investment fund.
FAC: Empowering Indigenous Businesses
First Australians Capital, a national Indigenous-led fund manager, has been dedicated to aiding Indigenous entrepreneurs in overcoming financial barriers posed by mainstream banking services. Since its inception in 2016, FAC has been instrumental in supporting over 800 Indigenous entrepreneurs, leveraging more than AUD$70 million in capital to scale sustainable Indigenous businesses. FAC’s new fund, bolstered by Block’s investment, aims to expand critical support services to more Indigenous-led businesses across Australia.
A Commitment to Financial Inclusion
Jack Dorsey, Head of Block, expressed enthusiasm about this partnership, highlighting the alignment of both organizations in their commitment to financial inclusion. Block, with its diverse businesses including Square, Cash App, TIDAL, and TBD, shares a purpose of expanding economic access for all. This investment, drawn from Block’s social impact fund, is intended to support minority and underserved communities globally.
Impact on Indigenous Entrepreneurs
The investment is a significant boost for the Indigenous business sector in Australia, which plays a crucial role in community and intergenerational wealth creation for First Australians. Brian Wyborn, Managing Partner at FAC, emphasized the potential of this sector as a powerful economic contributor. The partnership with Block is expected to enhance FAC’s ability to provide more extensive support to Indigenous-led businesses.
Success Stories and Future Prospects
Dr. Clinton Schultz, founder of the non-alcohol beverage brand Sobah, attests to the transformative impact of FAC’s support. With FAC’s assistance, Sobah has expanded its reach across Australia and into international markets like South East Asia, the US, and the UK. This investment from Block is seen as a significant vote of confidence in the Indigenous business sector and the broader community.
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