A change-maker in self-employment and cultural heritage | Sarina Russo

A change-maker in self-employment and cultural heritage

By Sarina Russo Editorial Team
Mark holding his plaque with SA State Officers and Sarina Russo Entrepreneurs manager
A change-maker in self-employment and cultural heritage
From left, Aaron Russell, Director, SA State Office; Kylie Rose, Assistant Director, SA State Office; Mark Koolmatrie, Owner of Kool Tours; and Mel Richards, Sarina Russo Entrepreneurs National Operations Manager

It was a unique celebration of recognition, as Mark Koolmatrie of Kool Tours, the visionary Aboriginal entrepreneur who had received the prestigious Change Award at the National Self-Employment Association Awards 2023, couldn't be present in Australia during the ceremony. Instead, a special award ceremony was arranged at the Yundi National Conservatory Park, one of his signature tour locations in South Australia. 

The Yundi National Conservatory Park is a place of profound significance, where the echoes of the past meet the aspirations of the future. It's one of Mark's treasured tour packages, a location where visitors gain an in-depth understanding of the history and knowledge of the local tribes of southern South Australia. Mark's passion for preserving and sharing indigenous culture and heritage is palpable in every tour he conducts. Therefore, selecting this unique setting for his award ceremony was not just symbolic; it was a statement of what he stands for – a commitment to honoring and celebrating the profound legacy of his heritage.

The BizCover Change Award serves as a testament to the transformative power of Self-Employment Assistance, especially in the context of Mark's inspiring journey. To qualify for this prestigious award, a business must showcase how participation in the Self-Employment Assistance program has led to profound, lasting changes in their lives, whether it's related to their financial, mental, or emotional well-being.

Mark's story is not just about cultural preservation, but also about carving his path in self-employment, a path that his parents did not have the opportunity to pursue previously. Thanks to the Australia Government's Self-Employment Assistance program, Mark now has the flexibility to create his own career, embodying the very essence of self-empowerment.

His journey is not solitary. It's a story of family, community, and opportunity. Through his thriving business, Kool Tours, Mark has not only shaped his own future but has extended a hand to his family members, providing them with meaningful employment. His entrepreneurial success has created livelihoods for his family and has the potential to extend opportunities to more individuals in the future. 

Moreover, what makes Mark's story even more remarkable is the example he is setting for his family. By becoming an entrepreneur, he is paving the way for his children, should they choose this path in the future. He is not just securing a brighter future for himself, but also leaving a legacy of entrepreneurial spirit for the generations that follow.

The ceremony at the Yundi National Conservatory Park represented a culmination of these values and a celebration of Mark's unwavering commitment to preserving Indigenous and Aboriginal culture while simultaneously curving his path in self-employment. It was a symbolic merging of his past, his present, and his aspirations for the future.

Mark's story is an inspiration to all who believe in the power of determination, innovation, and the capacity for self-employment to shape not only individual careers but also entire communities and generations.

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Sarina Russo offers accredited small business training that can help turn your business idea into reality. In conjunction with the Self-Employment Assistance program, Sarina Russo Entrepreneurs enables Australians to set up and run their own small business. The Self-Employment Assistance is 100% Australian Government funded.

Sarina Russo Entrepreneurs supports candidates as they complete Certificate IV in Entrepreneurship and New Business. During this, candidates create a comprehensive business plan and a two-year financial cash forecast. SRE Trainers provide meaningful mentoring for the first twelve months.

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Sarina Russo Group acknowledges the First Nations Peoples of this Country, the traditional custodians connected to the land, water and community on which we live, work and help others to live their best lives. We also pay respect to the Elders past, present and emerging, who strive to build a better and more sustainable future for future generations to come.