Many Australian women are starting their own businesses, which seems to have increased over the recent years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is gratifying to know that Australia ranked 8th in the world for proportion of women-owned and women-led businesses according to the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs. However, there are still many structural inequalities and challenges that cause hurdles in the journey of female founders and entrepreneurs.
From having barriers to access resources and being underrepresented as startup founders, as well as difficulty in accessing finance. Consequently, 48% of the female founders around the globe have reported a lack of mentors and advisors as a limiting factor, according to Business News Daily.
So how can a budding female entrepreneur to an established female founder continue pursuing their goals of starting up and scaling globally? Well, one way is by coming together through networking and events.
Being part of a group, a community with women who share a similar passion for their business and a diverse array of skills and experience, enables you to feel safe and continue your growth while also receiving support and learning from each other.
There are several events, programs and networks in Australia that you definitely want to look into and be part of, as a female founder:
SA Woman Australia have three main areas of focus which make up their mission-to connect, empower and support Australia’s talented and innovative women in business.
Connect: With an aim to motivate and encourage referral, knowledge sharing, collaboration and empowerment and to help minimise loneliness and isolation among women. SA Woman Australia provides women with an online platform as well as face to face opportunities to connect with women in business throughout South Australia.
Empower: SA Women Australia provides an environment where women can grow with confidence and self belief. It is a safe and supportive environment for women to have access to the resources they need to upgrade to the next level in their businesses, providing a sense of being a part of a community of women sharing the same interests.
Showcase: It is said, “We can’t be what we can’t see”, the success stories of women need to be shared and showcased for a larger reach of appreciation. SA Women Australia is a platform that provides women in business in South Australia opportunities to showcase their businesses and stories and spread the message of achievements of South Australian women in business.
Founded by Moira Were AM, Chooks SA emerged to address the gender investment gap in start ups and social enterprises. They aim to achieve this by:
- connecting women across generations
- building a community that prioritises support over competition
- celebrating successes however small they may be
- committing to support and guide each other to take the next step for ideas to take off.
Chooks SA supports entrepreneurs and innovators by, “applying a gender lens and not coloured glasses”. It supports, encourages and enables diversity in entrepreneurship to build everyone up without tearing anyone down.
You can be part of the movement to close the gender investment gap and join the Hen House Co-op.
Running a business in itself is hard. But, running a business while also being a mum is even harder. It can be overwhelming and stressful.
Passionate and driven about empowering mums to grow their business without the stress and worry of raising a family at the same time, SA Mums in Business is keen on supporting South Australian mums in business.
Aspiring to make business fun, exciting and a joyful experience for women in South Australia in contrast to it being a source of stress and worry. Organising events for mums in business to come together and connect with each other in a casual, relaxed environment. It’s a safe space for mums to connect with and learn from the experts to grow personally and professionally.
The Women in Business Regional Network aims to encourage networking among businesswomen in regional areas across Australia.
They do this through get-togethers, interaction and access to quality training to aid both business and personal development.
The organisation has been founded by Carolyn Jeffrey of CJ’s Business Solutions following a Women in Business Lunch and Learn function organised by international transformational educator Rosemary Killip held at Victor Harbor in September 2017.
The aims of the network include:
To create a safe, comfortable and happy environment – through events and social media – for women in business from regional areas (no matter the stage of their business journey) to be able to share ideas, services and support.
To help support and grow women in business in regional areas.
To encourage the creation and nurturing of opportunities for women in regional areas generally.
To encourage and support organisations and individuals to ensure women in business in regional areas have access to the training and support of their male and city-based counterparts.
To champion the cause of Women in Business in regional areas.
Women in Innovation is a non-profit membership group and community that celebrates and supports innovative women in Women in Innovation.
For women who want to make a difference and contribute something to the world, this is an inclusive community across every sector and for all types of work.
What makes this community unique is the fact that the members can be both men and women who take pride in supporting women change makers across the state.
Women in Digital is a global community based in Brisbane for women in digital with an aim to connect, educate and empower women in the digital sphere.
Women in Digital offers a wide range of services to help you develop your career, stay at the forefront of all things digital and ensure you feel empowered.
From networking events, skills training, workshops, mentoring programs and our annual Women in Digital Awards, there are plenty of ways to be a part of the WID community.
Women in Technology is one of Queensland’s most respected technology industry associations. It is one of the biggest communities supporting women in STEM and the champions of change
Being a not-for-profit organisation, it exists to empower women from all branches of science and technology to achieve their dreams and goals. Celebrating the contributions that women make to the economy, it encourages more women to work hard and make sure that they receive equal opportunities as men and get the recognition that they deserve.
The Rural Woman was founded on the belief that, ”If a rural woman blooms, all around her bloom too.”
Aiming to reverse the trend of rural decline by creating a genuine and collaborative global online community which connects millions of rural women. The result is a vibrant rural community experiencing unprecedented growth and opportunities.
With a belief that the solution to isolation is connection, it strives to provide a cutting-edge digital platform to explore the power of the internet for digital connection.
Educational hubs, bespoke coaching and consulting programs, business, leadership and personal development masterminds, unprecedented technology access and mentoring, unique events and publishing platforms are some of the many pathways for connection for rural women.
HerTechPath is a student workshop designed for girls to explore career options and is presented by women in the tech industry.
In this age of technology, we need data scientists, programmers, and software architects. Additionally, business analysts, human resources, marketing, salespeople, managers, and consultants are needed. New and different jobs are being created and these are being influenced by technology one way or the other.
In the workshops provided by HerTechPath, students get to speak with 3-4 women working in the tech sector in Adelaide from a wide range of organisations and roles. They will have an opportunity to listen to stories of established women in technology sectors and their career journey. This will not only inspire young students to follow their path but also realise their potential to the fullest.
Boosting Female Founders Initiative is a 3-year national program to support women founders in Australia. It helps female entrepreneurs overcome the hurdle faced in getting access to finance and support in order to grow their startups to scale into domestic and global markets. Applicants for the program will be provided with advice and mentorship opportunities.
The main objectives of this program are:
- To stimulate private sector investments into innovative startups which are owned and led by women.
- Aid women founders to overcome financial strain faced during their entrepreneurial journey and provide them with full support to grow their startup.
- Ensure full support to women founders to scale-up, expand into domestic as well as global markets which gives them a way for them to become self-sufficient
- To diversify the startup founders boost the economy through increasing the diversity of startup founders.
Tech Ready Women is a program for women to assist them in accelerating their tech and startup journey by providing them with world class mentoring and training in tech and business. Providing an 8-week startup program developed by industry experts and successful entrepreneurs which has been designed to help women to test and launch their idea in the market.
What can you gain from the program?
- Methods which are effective to test and launch ideas.
- Self-confidence in one’s own skill set and ability to create a successful startup.
- Access to qualified mentors and a supportive peer network.
- Understanding of the legal framework of the early stage startup.
- A chance to put into practice theoretical learnings.
Women who sign up for this program will be supported by mentors throughout the program, ensuring that they get access to the best advice, education and networks to help them succeed on their startup journey.
The Female Founders Program stands with the motive to help female founders at different stages of their entrepreneurial journey.
There are three different programs including The Female Founders Evolve Program; Female Founders Impact Program; and Female Founders Advisory Board Program.
- The Female Founders Evolve Program – aims to empower, evolve and escalate women-led businesses especially located in regional and outback Queensland.
- Female Founders Impact Program – provides capability development activities which focuses on confidence, education and skills development for women.
- Female Founders Advisory Board Program -teaches skills and gives exposure in order to engage effectively with advisors and to establish best practice governance.
Women’s Network Australia (WNA) brings together “a group of empowered women, empowering women.” Providing support and education for women in business to not just survive but thrive. WNA aspires to become a voice for women in business now that more women than ever are beginning to run businesses.
You can make contact with women from different professions and diverse business backgrounds who can then become your mentors and friends providing you with all forms of support related to your business.
WNA gives a platform for its members to thrive by helping develop close business relationships and creating strategic alliances. As a member in WNA, you get to be part of several educational, supportive and rewarding events, workshops and campaigns. Additionally, there are regular online events held to provide a national forum to network and establish business alliances and acquaintances.
The Future Female Entrepreneurs Program (FFEP) is a free innovative entrepreneurship program available to all young women in Australia aged 10 – 24, funded under the Australian Government’s Women’s Leadership and Development Program.
It seeks to cultivate young women’s skills particularly in design thinking, technology and business with an academy for enterprising girls and an accelerator for enterprising women.
FFEP provides young people aged 10-18 with tools and skills that they need, including National Workshop Programs, Comprehensive e-learning platforms and a hub of digital resources to become Australia’s next young generation of thinkers, innovators and entrepreneurs.
Similarly, it helps young women aged 18-24 by providing them with tools, support and industry alliance resources to become self-employed, job creators and entrepreneurs of the future.
Canberra Women in Business is a non-profit incorporated association which supports women in business in the region of Canberra.
Initially known as the Chamber of Women in Business, CWB was founded in the year 1992 as an organisation created by women and headed solely for women. Offering support and development opportunities for businesswomen in the Canberra region and also provides them with powerful connections which are tailored to their business needs. Helping women in Canberra to gain and foster confidence in establishing successful businesses.
Since 2012, SBE Australia has been helping women build and scale up businesses around the globe by providing tools, networks and knowledge. Supporting and advising the most promising women-owned businesses and showcasing them globally. There are three programs under SBE:
- SBE Explore: This program is designed to help women bring their ideas to life. It has been created to provide advice, skills, resources and networks to get women started with their businesses without much hassle. It is an 8 week program geared towards making women confident to launch their business in the market.
- SBE Evolve program: This is a hands-on learning experience with a network of industry leaders. The program provides women entrepreneurs with opportunities to meet and work alongside other women founders who are at a similar stage of their entrepreneurial journey.
- SBE Global Tech Program: This program gives a chance for all the members to meet, interact and learn from SBE’s alumni network which consists of a global community of world-class entrepreneurs, investors and business development professionals.
SheEO is a radically generous community supporting women + non-binary people working on the World’s To-Do List.
Launched in 2015 in Canada and now also in the US, Australia, New Zealand and UK, this visionary model is emerging as a leading global innovation that is totally unique. Rather than trying to fit women + non-binary folks into the existing models and systems and level the playing field, we are creating an entirely new field.
SheEO pushes the reset button on how to support women + non-binary folks on their own terms. We focus on bringing out the best of them by being radically generous to one another.
No doubt there are many more programs for female founders and entrepreneurs – please feel free to post and share the links, thank you.