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Image Credit – Dion Devow/Facebook

An Indigenous entrepreneur hopes his new title will encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to believe in themselves and follow their passion.

Founder of Darkies Designs, Dion Devow, was named the 2018 ACT Australian of the Year at an awards ceremony overnight.

“I don’t know how to feel, I’m still a bit numb, it’s all very surreal, but good, very good,” he said.

Dion wanted to reclaim a derogatory term and show pride in his heritage when he chose the business name “Darkies Designs.”

“It all came about as a result of the fact that there wasn’t many Indigenous clothing labels and the ones I looked at weren’t really my style so I thought I’d come up with a few designs and put them on T shirts and see how I go,” he said.

Then, it took off from there!

On top of the clothing label, Dion also established the Canberra Business Yarning Circle, an Indigenous business owner’s network, to help other Indigenous business owners achieve their dreams.

Dion will now join winners from other states and territories at the national awards ceremony in Canberra on January 25.

“When I have a chance to think about the day and what it means I’ll probably be very nervous but I just take each day at a time and see how I go,” he said.

Dion will be joined by the other very worthy ACT winners, including ACT Senior Australian of the Year Dr Graham Farquhar AO, ACT Young Australian of the Year Zack Bryers and ACT Local Hero Suzanne Tunks.

A massive congratulations to all the ACT winners and nominees!

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