Liam Ridgeway, co-founder and director of NGNY, Indigitek and IndigiGig, shares how he combines STEM with entrepreneurship to connect communities. He tells his story below.
First and foremost, I am a proud descendant of the Gumbaynggirr people of Nambucca Heads in Northern New South Wales and the Wakka Wakka people of Southern Queensland.
I am co-founder of Ngakkan Nyaagu (NGNY) an Aboriginal owned digital agency, co-founder of Indigitek, an Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander community of people in Tech, and Cofounder of IndigiGig, a start up that finds Indigenous talent in the gig-economy and connects the talent with corporate Australia to deliver gig-based online services to their projects and internal requirements.
NGNY is a 100% Aboriginal technology solutions business. Our main offerings around digital solutions, building websites, mobile apps and graphic design. We’ve branched out the business over the years, and we’ve grown to do things like website integrations with customer relationship management platforms like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. We also have been doing IT-managed services and cloud services as well.
One example is Pest ID, which assists Cambodian farmers better manage mungbean fields by offering a “photo dictionary” of both the insect pests and beneficial insects. The app contains pest management information and is offered in Khmer and English.
When I was younger, I always thought that, that in some way, shape or form, I’d own my own business. Once I finished my degree, I went into the corporate tech scene, as a lot of my friends were in the tech space.
I got caught in the ‘bright lights’ of being in the corporate space, working at a company like Microsoft, and all the awesome stuff that you get to do like corporate junkets and flying over to America and meeting all these awesome people.
It was on one of these trips that I started fleshing out this idea for a business building proprietary technology, and started on the journey of being an entrepreneur. My co-founder and I jumped into the technology relatively quickly, and hired quickly, which meant that I had to force myself to become a leader and support a team.
When you’ve never run a business before, you stumble your way through the journey! We made it work that time as we had the execution of firstly fleshing out the idea, and then secondly, the plans from the business structure, and we did have multiple angel investors. We actually went to a couple of venture capitalists as well.
And then I found that business just wasn’t connected enough to community. I was going through a journey of self discovery, and through that journey of self discovery, I set up and co-founded Ngakkan Nyaagu (NGNY), an Aboriginal owned and operated web services, design and IT consulting business.
I think one of the key things about being an entrepreneur is being 100% bought in to the idea that you have. You have to be so excited about the thing that you’re doing. And you have to be so resilient about the fact that you’re willing to take it from start to finish, no matter what it takes.
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Liam’s study and career path to becoming co-founder and director of NGNY, Indigitek and IndigiGig
- BA, Business, Marketing & Management
- Account manager, Microsoft Australia
- Co-founder, Subundo
- Co-founder, NGNY
- Co-Founder, Indigitek
- Director, IndigiGig
Author: STEM Contributor
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