Coding with culture

    Dean Foley

    Digital technology can help you explore your customs and bring your community together. Dean Foley has done just that through his career as an Australian entrepreneur with his startup Barayamal.

    When Dean Foley first stepped into the start-up world, he noticed a lack of training and mentorship programs for Indigenous Australians interested in digital technology. “I wanted to launch an event that would not only teach Indigenous entrepreneurs key skills and provide a way to collaborate, but also to prove to the world that they existed,” says Dean.

    Dean founded Australia’s first Indigenous Startup Weekend, where, over two days, participants learnt the skills needed for running a successful business, from designing a business model to pitching ideas to seasoned entrepreneurs. “Empowering the Indigenous community will help to change the landscape of Australia,” he says.

    How Dean became an Australian Entrepreneur

    Entrepreneurship was a “lightbulb moment” for Dean, who initially worked as an air intelligence analyst in the Royal Australian Air Force, inspired by his grandfather’s war service. “I got low grades, and was looking at uni but I didn’t feel I was that smart. I was looking to drop out, but my teacher told me to finish year 12.”

    Dean then did a graduate certificate in business administration at Griffith University, a Master of Business Marketing at QUT and an MBA at Griffith University before founding Barayamal (Black Swan) Indigenous Startup Accelerator to help people get their new businesses up and running within three months.

    For University of Queensland student Phillip Harris, Barayamal has played a key role in the development of Aartbi – an online platform connecting artists and musicians from Darwin. “I have a lot of faith in my idea and Barayamal is helping make it a reality by keeping me grounded and working with me to get my idea into action,” says Phillip.

    – Gemma Conroy

    Study options:

    > > Bachelor of Applied Science (Indigenous Professional Practices), Curtin University

    > > Bachelor of Information Technology (Web Design and Development), University of Wollongong

    > > Bachelor of Business (Entrepreneurship and Innovation), Auckland University of Technology

    > > User Experience for the Web free online course, Open2Study

    Hot jobs:

    > > Application developer, $48,509-$93,164*

    > > Web designer $39,465-$81,823

    > > Small business owner $47,404-$161,032

    > > Technical consultant $55,309-$129,367

    *Salaries according to


    Twitter: @IndigenousDX

    Facebook: DigitalMaoriForum

    Eliza Brockwell

    Author: Eliza Brockwell

    Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.