The federal government has dished out a total of $12 million in grant funding to women-led businesses, through its Boosting Female Founders Initiative.
Some 51 startups have each received grants of between $25,000 and $480,000.
Successful startups include Arula, which 3D prints personalised breast prosthesis, and is headed up by first-time founder and 22-year-old Steph Weiss.
The matched-funding scheme is intended to stimulate women’s participation in entrepreneurship, helping them build sustainable and successful businesses, and ultimately leading to job creation.
Piloted in 2020 with a budget of $18 million, the scheme was expanded in this year’s budget, with an additional $35.9 million pledged over the next five years.
“The road from business idea to global product is already a tough one. But we know female-founded startups face even greater challenges in getting the finance needed to reach their full potential,” Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said in a statement.
“If we don’t capitalise on great business ideas from half of the population, Australia’s startup and innovation ecosystems will only be half as good as they could be,” she added.
But the scheme has attracted some criticism for its strict eligibility criteria and tight definition of what constitutes a ‘women-led’ business.
The scheme requires a startup to be at least 50% owned by women, and 50% of the founding team or senior management must be women.
This means that a business with one woman and one man co-founder would be eligible. But, if it had secured any equity funding from a male investor, it would not be.
Some women founders expressed disappointment in the eligibility criteria, suggesting that rather than breaking down a barrier, it creates another one.
On the other hand, others support the restrictions, saying having an all-women founding team puts a startup at more of a disadvantage when seeking funding.
Whatever your take on the scheme, cash for 51 women-led businesses can only be a good thing. Here’s the full list of grant recipients.
Bring Me Home
Nip of Courage
Noosa Cold Brew
Hospitality and tourism
Champion Life Education
Speaking in Colour
Construction and manufacturing
Mantikor Tradie Mate
For The Makers
Share with Oscar
Woolcool Australia (Planet Protector Packaging)
K9 Weight Challenge
Laila And Me
Environment and community
She’s A Crowd
Childcare and products for parents
Marketing and social media
The Photo Diner Australia — Flaunter
Learn more about the 51 businesses here.