The first round of applications for grants provided by the government’s Boosting Female Founders Initiative is now open.

The Australian government has announced a total of $18 million will be spent to help female entrepreneurs overcome the disadvantages they face in getting access to finance and support to grow their startups. $6 million is available in this first round.

Round one applications for grants close on April 14 at 5pm AEST with selected businesses to get between $25,000 and $480,000.

The program aims to stimulate private sector investments into innovative women-led startups geared for growth and will provide targeted financial support on a co-contribution basis to female founders.

Running over three years from 2020 to 2023, the program is part of the Women’s Economic Security Package, which helps to support more Australian women into work and supports Australia’s international obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Hurdles

Released in November last year the report Boosting Female Founders Initiative Consultation Outcomes [PDF] said female founders still face significant hurdles when accessing capital, tapping into supportive networks and selling themselves. 

The report noted 38 per cent of respondents reported funding, investment, money or capital as a barrier for female startup leaders. 

The financial barriers were categorised broadly into two areas: the founders’ personal financial situation and attracting investors to financially back the startup.

According to the government’s report, 32 per cent of respondents raised the difficulty of finding information resources to support their venture, specifically for the very early stages of a startup. 

This included basic material or information, application guidance and financial advice, as well as connections into networks, finding mentors and support groups. 23 per cent cited a lack of confidence in either themselves or the idea for the startup. 

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