Women’s Online Network to be a one-stop shop connecting female entrepreneurs

Established and aspiring female entrepreneurs will get another avenue to connect today, with the launch of the Women’s Online Network.

The online platform, known as WON, is a partnership between female industry leaders and the NSW State Government to help women across Australia start and grow their own businesses. It connects women with resources and information, and helps them get in touch with relevant people who can aid their growth.

Launched by the NSW Minister for Small Business John Barilaro at Fishburners this morning, the platform aims to further increase the number of women-owned businesses, and aid “legitimate and rewarding career pathways regardless of location.”

WON already has a number of collaborators involved, including SheBusiness, Chief Executive Women, Heads Over Heels, Rare Birds, Scale, Springboard, WorkingSpacesHQ, and Skilld.

The platform calls on women to become a “wonner” no matter what business stage they’re at (including having an idea, already started, growing and existing) and enables relevant service providers to submit their resources to help. The website also features a good number of existing NSW entrepreneurs including Showpo founder Jane Lu, OneShift founder Gen George, 365cups director Simone Eyles, and Canva co-founder Melanie Perkins.

Minister for Women Pru Goward said in a statement that while we have a growing representation of women in entrepreneurialism, more works needs to be done, and we need to empower more women to get started.

Currently, more than 95% of startup investors are male, with a lack of finance cited as a key reason why women don’t go ahead with a business they have been considering.

Of the 5.3 million working women in Australia, around 12.5% of them are running their own businesses, according to a report prepared for the Office for Women in 2015.

Meanwhile, around 34% of Australian business operators are female, a figure that’s grown by a massive 46% in the last two decades. However, the pay gap between male and female unincorporated business owners is significant – $423 a week for women compared with $890 a week for men, much larger than the national gender pay gap at 17.3%.

This article was originally published on SmartCompany.

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