Les Delaforce: combining culture, technology and business

November 8, 2016

Les Delaforce, Gumbaynggirr (NSW), is the first Indigenous 30 Under 30 winner (Australian Institute of Management), and Co-Founder & Director of Covocate.

“When you look at our mob, 14% have tertiary qualifications, compared to 46% of non-Indigenous people. As a result, we can be overlooked in hiring. This happens even though we might have extensive and relevant experience.

I’ve always had a passion for how culture, technology and business can come together to create opportunities. I’ve been involved with the WA Startup sector for a few years, and in 2015 I teamed up with a friend and launched our own startup, Covocate. We’ve developed technology that levels the playing field in recruitment. It’s about looking at people’s values and attitudes, not just their qualifications or documents. It counteracts unconscious bias and as a result, our clients are achieving greater diversity, naturally. People are being hired because they’re right for the role, not because of some diversity quota.

I’ve always known that if our mob could get in front of the decision-makers, they’d shine, because they could show their true abilities and values. Now this technology is getting them there, and our mob are finding employment because they’re a great fit."

In his IBECC presentation, Les will be exploring the opportunity for Indigenous people in the entrepreneurship and the tech and startup sectors. A recent study found that the engagement of Indigenous people in technology and entrepreneurship has the ability to be an equalising effect on opportunity for Indigenous people. Particularly when Aboriginal people under 35 account for the total Indigenous population. How do we engage this generation?

This presentation also provides an insight into an Perth Indigenous tech startup that is challenging current approaches to recruitment in order to increase the number of Indigenous people securing long term meaningful employment, counter unconscious bias and improve diversity.

You can check out Covocate at

Interview contributed from 100 Days of Deadly Mob:

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