Boosting Female Founders Initiative: Design Consultation

Closed 4 Oct 2019

Opened 26 Aug 2019


We are developing the Boosting Female Founders Initiative. The program will contribute to removing barriers for women’s economic participation in the workforce by providing access to finance for startups led by women.

We want to hear from stakeholders in the startup and innovation ecosystem about how we should design the program, including criteria to target our investment into female founders, with emphasis on those that experience greater barriers to access capital. We recognise that applying a one-size-fits-all set of criteria to determine eligibility to programs or support may not account for important differences.

Why We Are Consulting

We want your input to design a program that supports diversity among founders by encouraging the participation of female founders with businesses experiencing barriers. There are a range of barriers to accessing finance, markets or talent that disadvantage early stage startups and impact their potential for success. For example:

  • Limited or no funding opportunities. Accessing capital can be very difficult and often women only raise half the capital compared to startups founded by men. Even when finance is available to women, the terms offered on credit can be less favourable.
  • Less capital. Women often start a businesses with less capital, which has ramifications for business growth and scalability
  • Absence of support and professional networks (e.g. business coaches, mentors and role models). In general, women lack the same strength in professional networks as men, which makes it harder when starting a business.
  • Lack of visibility. Women are less likely to know someone who is an entrepreneur and therefore are less likely to become one themselves.
  • Unconscious gender bias. Some investors prefer entrepreneurial pitches presented by men even when the content is the same and pose different questions to women.

We encourage you to provide answers to the discussion questions in the survey below and any additional feedback to support program design. This information will assist us to design a program that gets the best outcomes for female founders.

Discussion paper

Read the Boosting Female Founders - Discussion Paper (PDF 178kb).

Share your views

There were three ways you could share your views to help us support female founders:

  1. Through a 10 minute survey.
  2. An online webinar–held at 12pm – 2pm AEST on Friday 4 October 2019.
  3. Attending a focus group—held at various locations throughout Australia.

What Happens Next

Following completion of the consultations and consideration of any additional feedback, we will synthesise the responses and use insights to work with a range of areas within the department to develop the Boosting Female Founders Initiative.


  • Women's Network
  • Government
  • Government - State and Federal
  • Commonwealth Government departments and agencies
  • Industry Associates
  • Government - AusIndustry Regional Managers
  • Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
  • Everyday Australians
  • Regional Australians
  • Science & Commercialisation Policy Division
  • Startups
  • Scaleups
  • Venture Capital
  • Business advisors
  • Investors (Angels/Venture Capitalists)
  • Women/Female - Entrepreneurs/Startups/Founders
  • Incubators
  • Accelerators
  • Startups and accelerators
  • Science related Business/Industry audiences


  • Women in STEM
  • Commercialisation
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Startups
  • Innovation
  • Venture Capital
  • Angel Investing
  • Investors
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Gender equity
  • Research commercialisation