Boosting Female Founders Initiative: Design Consultation

Closed 4 Oct 2019

Opened 26 Aug 2019

Feedback Updated 19 Mar 2020

We Asked

The Minister for Industry, Science and Technology released a discussion paper seeking your input to the design the Boosting Female Founders Initiative, a 2018 Women’s Economic Security Package measure to supports diversity among startup founders by providing female founders with access to finance to grow their startups.
Consultations were undertaken between 26 August and 4 October 2019 to seek views from stakeholders from the startup and innovation ecosystem.

You Said

We undertook 20 face-to-face focus groups across Australia (14 regional, 6 metro) and a webinar with 386 participants. We received 323 submissions through the Consultation Hub and by email.

Read the Boosting Female Founders Initiative Consultation Outcomes Report.

We Did

The Boosting Female Founders Initiative was launched on 17 March 2020.

Details can be found at

Results Updated 29 Nov 2019

We have released the Boosting Female Founders Initiative Consultation Outcomes Report: The report highlights the key challenges facing female entrepreneurs and summarises themes from the consultation.

There was a strong public response. A range of stakeholders in the startup and innovation ecosystems contributed valuable insights. Australia-wide the department received 323 submissions and heard directly from more than 380 people through focus groups and a webinar.

The outcomes report will inform the development of the Boosting Female Founders Initiative, set to be launched in July 2020.



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

The department will examine the feedback received through the Boosting Female Founders Initiative consultation process and use it to inform the development of the program, including the grant guidelines.

Applications for grants will open next year with the first funding available from mid 2020.


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