Published on Sep 30, 2019

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The Department of Industry Innovation and Science is calling for people interested in helping in the development of a funding framework to support start-ups for women. They are currently conducting both a face-to-face and survey based consultation process to help with the design of the Boosting Female Founders Initiative. The consultation process closes 4 October 2019.

Once developed, the program will provide women with funding to grow their start-up. They’re seeking your views to determine the design detail for the program in order to get the best outcomes. They will be also drawing on responses to the discussion paper they received through the Consultation Hub to help shape the final design, including the grant opportunity guidelines.

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


Why target female founded start-ups?

The Government acknowledges that start-ups founded by women encounter higher barriers to success than their male-only counterparts. Female entrepreneurs can struggle to access the capital, networks and resources they need to take their businesses to the next level.

Research shows that start-ups founded and co-founded by women perform better over time, than their male counterparts. Similarly, start-ups founded and co-founded by women are significantly better financial investments: for every dollar of funding, these start-ups generated 78 cents. Male-founded start-ups generated less than half that—just 31 cents. Although the number of women founders or co-founders is low, they typically achieve a higher rate of return.


Why are they consulting?

They want your input to design a program that supports diversity among founders, by encouraging the participation of female founders who are experiencing barriers. There are a range of barriers to accessing finance, markets or talent that disadvantage early stage start-ups 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 start-ups 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 business 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.

They encourage you to provide answers to the discussion questions in their survey plus any additional feedback to support the program design.

Go here to access additional information about the project, or here for a link to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Women’s Economic Security page.