Closing date looms for female-focused Springboard program

Female entrepreneurs in high-growth sectors are being encouraged to submit an application to Springboard Enterprises, which aims to help them secure funding from local and US investors.


Springboard Enterprises, which launched in Australia in May, is on the hunt for Australia’s most promising women-led growth companies to join its global business accelerator program.


To date, Springboard Enterprises has raised $US5.6 billion in capital for more than 500 high-growth, women-led businesses overseas. Australian applications close on December 15.


“This is the first time this program has been offered in Australia,” Springboard Australia chairperson Wendy Simpson told StartupSmart.


“The applicants put their applications on a secure website, and that involves explaining her business.


“We invite domain specialists… to review their applications and given them candid comments. We also invite seasoned US venture capitalists and investors to review [the applications] and give their comments back.”


The second phase of the program will see a select group of applicants meet the investors face to face. Simpson says those meetings will be held in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.


A shortlist of eight to 10 applicants will then be compiled. These women will be invited to a business boot camp where they will be coached by Kay Koplovitz, the founder of Springboard.


“She is leading a delegation of about 10 women who have been successful in raising capital. All of them are volunteering their time to come out and coach,” Simpson says.


“That event is on February 12. After that, women will be assigned up to eight coaches, and each coach will have domain experience… [They will offer] laser-like, specific coaching.


“That will last for about two to three months, and then there will be a Springboard investor forum, where people will be matched [with investors] either from the US or Australia… to engage them in conversations about capital raising.”


According to Simpson, a third of applicants typically seek angel investment or seed funding. Another third seek Series A funding, while the final third seeks Series B or later stage funding.


“So women in any of those stages can and should apply,” she says.


“You’ve got to be in what we would call high-growth sectors, but Springboard’s sweet spot is medical devices, digital media, healthcare and IT and the financial sector.”


Other sectors include biotechnology, clean technology, eCommerce and online retail, mining and engineering technology, security, social networking and telecommunications.


Companies wishing to apply must meet the following criteria:

  1. A woman in a key management position holding an equity stake in the company.
  1. A qualified and profitable market opportunity with a clear competitive advantage.
  1. A track record of milestone achievement which may include grants, clients, revenue or “done it before”.
  1. A credible core management team or ability to attract such a team.


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