Melbourne, Warragul, Bendigo, Wangaratta, Australia

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science wants your input to design a program that supports diversity among founders by encouraging the participation of female founders with businesses experiencing barriers.

“Female founded start-ups will be boosted through access to early stage capital and entrepreneurial support to launch businesses of high growth potential into Australian and export markets.” Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews.

About the program

The Boosting Female Founders program will assist in removing barriers for women’s economic participation in the workforce by providing access to finance for startups founded by women.

Early stage capital will be available for women engaging in innovative entrepreneurship to contribute towards building their startups. The program will support startups that are geared for growth with high potential to launch, scale and expand into domestic and global markets.

There are a range of barriers to accessing finance, markets or talent that disadvantage early stage startups and impact their potential for success. For example:

  • Limited or no funding opportunities. Accessing capital can be very difficult and often women only raise half the capital compared to startups founded by men. Even when finance is available to women, the terms offered on credit can be less favourable.
  • Less capital. Women often start a businesses with less capital, which has ramifications for business growth and scalability
  • Absence of support and professional networks (e.g. business coaches, mentors and role models). In general, women lack the same strength in professional networks as men, which makes it harder when starting a business.
  • Lack of visibility. Women are less likely to know someone who is an entrepreneur and therefore are less likely to become one themselves.
  • Unconscious gender bias. Some investors prefer entrepreneurial pitches presented by men even when the content is the same and pose different questions to women.

Priority for the competitive grants will be given to women from groups that typically experience higher barriers to finance, including those women from rural and regional areas.

The term women (including girls for minors) encompasses cisgender (personal gender identity corresponds with sex assigned at birth), transgender, non-binary and intersex persons who identify as women (girls).

The Boosting Female Founders Initiative will provide $18 million in co-funded grants over three years from 2020.

Have your say

The Australian Government encourages you to provide answers to the discussion questions in the survey and any additional feedback to support program design. This information will assist the government to design a program that gets the best outcomes for female founders.

Take the 10 minute survey

Consultation sessions – Melbourne and Victoria

Focus groups will take place in the following locations:

  • 11 September 2019 –  Melbourne - Stone & Chalk - book tickets
  • 24 September 2019 – Warragul - Herd Coworking - book tickets
  • 2 October 2019 – Bendigo TBC
  • 3 October 2019 – Wangaratta - GOTAFE - book tickets