Join Us to include the 80% of Female Founders Excluded from Aust Govt's #BFF Grant!

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Help us support female-founded businesses in Australia by signing this petition to change to the eligibility of the Boosting Female Founders Grant so that female-founded businesses can be eligible to apply, regardless of their equity or shareholding!

This is an open letter to

the Hon. Minister Karen Andrews, Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science

Ms Kate Carnell AO, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

In a time of crisis like this, this change to this grant will mean that it can support female-led startups to survive and thrive and exist beyond the turmoil that is COVID-19, which is a wonderful story to share in supporting the Australian community and startup ecosystem.

Somewhere in Australia, Erin Corcoran is helping your favourite vet call you to care for your pet. While you are gone, Juliette Murphy is mapping the foundation of your dream home for flood risk. As you get caught up in errands, Shivani Gopal is transforming the way you shop for groceries. After a long day, Skye Theodorou is helping you decide on dinner as she provides protection to your food delivery worker

Despite having almost nothing in common except their gender, these future leaders of tomorrow are transforming the way we live. Erin is the CEO of Nuzzl, a platform providing vet services on demand; Juliette is the CEO of FloodMapp, a mapping tool to assist in catastrophe planning and risk management; Shivani is the CEO of Upstreet, a platform that enables financial literacy and supports companies listed on the share market; and Skye is the CEO of Upcover, providing tailored insurance and benefits to the gig economy.

As they portray the spirit of innovation and empowerment, the challenges they face in successfully leading their companies are many. Moving beyond bias, they are constantly fighting a battle to secure enough capital and build strong support networks in a male-dominated system.

After almost a two-year effort in building the much-anticipated Boosting Female Founders (BFF) Initiative, its launch on 17th March 2020 has been, at best, a decent effort. Put forth by the Federal Department of Industry Innovation and Science, the grant aims at providing access to $18 million in funding over 3 years to female founders so as to grow and scale their start-ups. Based on providing economic security, it was a step forward in addressing the limitations of women in the start-up business ecosystem and providing a level playing field.

However, the eligibility terms set hinder the very progress that the initiative pledges to make. The criteria is set for “a female-founded start-up that is at least 50% women-owned (equity or shares) and at least 50 percent of the founding team or senior managers are women”. This is a term that makes all female-led start-ups that have a cofounder that is a man or largely male-led investors ineligible to apply. In a nutshell, it disqualifies 80% of the female-founded start-ups in Australia from applying for funding

This petition is to modify the BFF criteria to reshape the grant eligibility from “a female-founded start-up that is at least 50% women-owned (equity or shares) and at least 50 percent of the founding team or senior managers are women” to include female-led startups regardless of their shareholding or equity status. This would mean a change to “50% female shareholding or at least 50 percent of the founding team or senior managers in start-ups". This is a much-needed change that we have to support strongly to help female entrepreneurs grow and boost the economy.

We know that female-led startups secure only 2% of all investment globally. But a report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), start-ups founded by women performed better over time due to being subjected to more shortcomings and pushback. As females, they are often perceived as sisters, daughters, mothers, and wives; making their job harder as they overcome gender disparities and stereotypes. Yet, they are all of that and more. They are revolutionaries, CEOs, COOs, bankers, investors, stockbrokers, and most importantly, they are brave. They are brave enough to inspire the next generation through their ideas and persistence. This improvement in the BFF initiative is a stepping stone to doing our bit to change the things that matter - so please sign, share, and support this petition.

Some of the many female-led startups that support this petition: upcover, FloodMapp, ClaimSpace, Coverhero, upstreet, Caia.care, Handii, Nuzzl, and Storyantics.

If you are a female-led founder or investor please let us know about your business in your reason to sign below!