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Monday, July 15, 2024

Backing innovative female founders

INNOVATIVE Queensland women looking to launch or grow their innovation-driven businesses can now apply for funding under two programs designed to back the state’s enterprising female founders.

To mark International Women’s Day, the Miles Government has opened applications for the second round of the Accelerating Female Founders program.

The program provides funding grants of between $50,000 and $200,000 for business support initiatives, such as mentoring and advocacy support and customised business development activities, for female-led enterprises in both early-stage and later-stage startup phases over the next two years.

The first round of the program, launched in February 2023, is well underway with 11 funded organisations currently delivering a diverse range of business support activities to almost 500 women across Queensland.

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Innovation Leanne Linard said female entrepreneurs are the fastest-growing category of entrepreneurship in the world.

“But raising capital is a difficult process for the average startup, and unfortunately, it is even more so for women-led companies,” she said.

“By supporting more women to participate in the Queensland innovation ecosystem through our $8 million Backing Female Founders initiative, our vision for making Queensland a leading and sustainable, world-class innovation economy is on track.”

Applications have also opened for funding under the Female Founders Co-Investment Fund, the eligibility requirements for which have been expanded to allow even more innovative women-led organisations to apply for support during the investment raising stage.

Statistically, startup companies founded and led by women attract less investment capital than those led by men.

The Female Founders Co-Investment Fund provides grants of between $50,000 and $200,000 to female founded and led businesses that are approaching new investors as part of their early-stage capital raise.

The updated guidelines reflect feedback received from both female founders and investors, to make it more accessible and easier to navigate, and open up eligibility to even more women.

The first two recipients of the Female Founders Co-Investment Fund were Dr Jeni Wellington, Founder of Annuo MedTech, and Ashley Hanger, Founder of Stripped Supply – both innovative startups in the MedTech field looking to improve the healthcare industry.

“Receiving the Female Founders Co-Investment Fund was a pivotal moment in our journey, amplifying our capacity to improve the health outcomes and patient experience of the 1.5 million Australians living with diabetes,” Ms Hanger said.

“This Fund not only fuels our ambitions, but reaffirms the crucial role women play in driving innovation and economic growth. We are honoured to be recognised, and are committed to continue making impactful strides towards equality in patient healthcare and the startup ecosystem.”

Dr Wellington’s company received $86,666 to develop a global healthcare networking platform for people living with chronic diseases, while Ms Hanger’s company received $116,000 to develop Australia’s first diabetes digital toolkit to empower patient self-management.

Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Aviation trailblazer named Woman of the Year and Work to do to narrow gender equality gap.

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