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Free festivals and $60K Kickstarter challenge await women founders


Free small business festivals are happening all over the country, and there’s a $60,000 competition aimed at spotlighting Australia’s emerging women entrepreneurs.

The Accelerator for Enterprising Women’s Kickstarter Challenge, slated to commence on March 26th, invites ambitious female entrepreneurs aged 18 and above to step forward with their visionary concepts.

Distinguished judges specializing in various fields will identify finalists across four distinct categories:

Health, Wellbeing, and the Care Economy

Climate Change and Sustainability

Community Impact

FinTech or e-Commerce

Additionally, a fifth finalist will be determined through public voting.

The grand prize winner will receive $30,000 in funding, devoid of any equity claims, to further develop her business endeavor. Each of the remaining finalists will be awarded $7,500.

To help prepare for the competition, or simply to network and access free resources to help their small businesses grow, women are invited to attend free Female Founder Festivals in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart and Melbourne, hosted by the Accelerator for Enterprising Women. They will be headlined by some of Australia’s most accomplished entrepreneurial women ready to pass on their knowledge and insights.

In addition to the festivals, intensive AccelerateHER Workshops will be held to help attendees grow their ideas from a basic concept into something they are ready to share with the world.

The program is delivered in partnership with the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia. COSBOA chief executive officer Luke Achterstraat said COSBOA wanted to ensure anyone who wanted a future in entrepreneurship could create that career path.

“This competition will be a pivotal moment not just for the winner of the $30,000 in equity-free funding, but for a host of others who will find the courage, support and information they need to get their ideas off the ground too,” Mr Achterstraat said.

“Women in our community have so many transformational ideas we need to harvest for the good of society and our economy.”

The Accelerator for Enterprising Women’s spokesperson Miriam Rizvi said programs such as these were imperative as research continued to show how far women lag behind.

Women are under-represented in entrepreneurship. Only about one in three small businesses are run by women and the latest State of Australian Startup Funding report released by Cut Through Venture and Folklore Ventures details the “severe imbalance in the distribution of funding” for women founders.

“We have chosen four entry categories ripe for some truly game-changing ideas and we’re excited to see what women across Australia come up with. Initiatives such as this Kickstarter Challenge, and the Accelerator for Enterprising Women, uncover the depth of the talent out there and give women tangible paths forward to embrace their potential as successful business owners,” Ms Rizvi said.

Kickstarter dates: Female Founder Festivals:

Entries open on 26 March Canberra — 27 March

Voting opens 29 April Hobart — 6 May

Entries close 16 August Brisbane — 15 May

Voting closes 23 August Sydney — 22 May

Grand final and winner announced 9 October Perth — 5 June

Adelaide — 19 June

Melbourne — 26 June

About the Accelerator for Enterprising Women

The Accelerator for Enterprising Women is part of the Future Female Entrepreneurs Program (FFEP), an innovative entrepreneurship program available free to all women and girls in Australia funded under the Australian Government’s Women’s Leadership and Development Program.

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