One in four startup companies in Australia are now launched by women, according to the annual Startup Muster report released in Sydney last week.
The report is the fourth annual survey into the Australian startup community, showcasing its progress, challenges and opportunities and how it contributes to the broader business community locally and abroad.
“This year’s results show an unprecedented increase in the involvement of women, with female founders up from 16.1% companies to 25.4% over the past four years,” says Startup Muster CEO Monica Wulff.
The data also shows a rise in women considering launching a startup, to 37% from 31% in 2016.
UTS’s Hatchery Accelerate program, which empowers early-stage founders to take their startup to the next level, has consistently reported twice the national average of female founders. Across four cohorts since its inception in 2016, about 60% of Hatchery Accelerate startup teams have had a female founder.
This kind of shift doesn’t happen by accident, says UTS Executive Director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Margaret Petty.
“We’ve put a considerable effort into bridging the gender gap in the world of business, so the fact that Hatchery Accelerate has a strong showing in female founders demonstrates that our approach is effective,” Petty says.
“We embody this philosophy in all that we do. We have a great team of female staff that play a key part in developing our programs. We have women at the forefront of our marketing activity and we proactively reach out to female founder teams who have a great idea but may not have considered applying.
“We also support the development of confidence and other soft skills through our mentoring network, including more female role models.
“We have some incredible businesses and business leaders coming out of Hatchery Accelerate with each cohort, and it’s an exciting time for UTS to be fuelling the growth of the Australian startup landscape.”
A Hatchery Accelerate startup founder, Melanie Lewis of FOOD4FACE, says Hatchery Accelerate has given her “a huge amount of confidence for this startup and for any future endeavours”.
“I’ve applied my newfound confidence to approach potential partners and succeeded. I also see the network I now have as a major win because without it I would find it a lot harder to make progress.”
One of the biggest challenges of being in the program has been making the transition to working on her business full time, she says, and the accelerator environment has helped her make this change.
“As a mother of two young kids, and wife of another startup owner, getting out the door each day, finding focus and maintaining momentum has been especially tough because I’m a ‘solopreneur’. What has made it easier is the comradery and support from fellow startup teams within the accelerator. We’ve built really strong mate-ships that I am certain will continue along the journey, and I’m really grateful for that.”
Other UTS Hatchery Accelerate female founder successes so far include:
- Online fashion brand Hear Us Roar - nominee for StartCon E-Commerce Startup of the Year award
- Cloud kitchen platform Cookitoo - plans for overseas launch in 2018
- Drone piloting technology company Tekuma - filming in Shanghai for Chinese reality TV show “The Next Unicorn” (similar to Shark Tank and The Apprentice)
FOOD4FACE, and Hear Us Roar, along with the current Hatchery Accelerate cohort, will be pitching at the program’s Demo Day this week. The first 2018 intake will soon open for applications - contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more. Read more about FOOD4FACE and another Hatchery Accelerate startup theSmart here.
UTS, along with Google and MYOB, is a partner of Startup Muster and co-sponsor of the 2017 report.