Supporting female entrepreneurs is important to global innovation, job creation and economic growth. Numerous studies show that women-led companies often outperform those led by men, employ six-times more women, implement flexible working models, and are more likely to offer equal pay.
Accelerators and incubators improve the chances of startups receiving funding to scale and increase their chances of survival. Female founders, however, are not yet equally represented in Australian or international accelerator programs.
To address this issue, The University of Queensland (UQ) seeks to develop its first accelerator program specifically for female founders to provide them with the support needed to take their ideas to the next level. This accelerator would leverage the expertise and program models of UQ’s entrepreneurship community, including UQ Ventures, which has delivered the LeadHers confidence building program for women for more than five years.
A total of 12 teams will be selected to join the three-month intensive program and receive $10,000 equity free funding, access to workshops, mentoring, guidance from Entrepreneurs in Residence, partner incentives, desk space, and introductions to investors. The program will conclude with a ‘Pitch Night’ event where founders will present their ideas to a panel of experts, who will provide feedback on their business ideas.
Note: The accelerator would be open to the general community in Australia but participants would need a strong connection with The University of Queensland (UQ) as evidenced by 50% of founders meeting one of the following criteria: be a student of UQ, be an alum of UQ who graduated 10 years ago or less, or be a current UQ staff member.
Founders will be supported beyond the accelerator, integrated within UQ led initiatives and opportunities in the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem, including with investors.
The female founder accelerator will be a success if, after completing the program, founders can confidently:
• Develop a product the market is prepared to pay for
• Raise capital
• Build enterprise value
• Get customer traction and scale
• Increase passion and confidence in their business
• Generate a network of supporters who can help with their journey post accelerator
• Give back and share their story
UQ is seeking to partner with donors who share our vision for innovation and entrepreneurship, to address the under representation of women in leadership and entrepreneurship, and to ultimately contribute to the creation of a fair, inclusive and successful future for our girls, women and for humanity.
UQ Ventures will offer key opportunities such as involvement in the program as speaker, mentor or judge.
A world top 50 university, the University of Queensland (UQ) offers a globally recognised education to more than 55,200 students from 140 countries. With six faculties, eight research institutes and over 100 centres, UQ’s mission is to positively influence society by engaging in the pursuit of excellence through the creation, preservation, transfer, and application of knowledge. UQ is shaping the future by bringing leaders together to inspire the next generation and advance ideas that benefit the world.
UQ Ventures, the entrepreneurship arm of UQ, has an excellent reputation and track record for delivering entrepreneurship programs, both domestically and internationally. With over 30,000 participants and over 1,000 mentors in more than 14 countries since 2018, UQ Ventures has had tremendous reach to all parts of the university community and partners, in Australia and overseas.