Backing Female Founders Program

Supporting Queensland's female founders to grow and scale their innovative businesses.

About the program

The Backing Female Founders Program builds on the first phase of the Female Founders Program launched in May 2019, providing a suite of initiatives to grow and scale Queensland innovation businesses founded by women. The $8 million program aligns with the priorities of the Innovation for Future Economy 2022-2023 Roadmap and nearly 2,000 female founders to date have benefited from the program.

The program initiatives assist female founders at various stages of the entrepreneurial lifecycle and address the barriers in the youth, startup, scaleup and global stages of the innovation pipeline. Each initiative aims to address one of the four key objectives of the program:

  • Increasing investment to Female Founders
  • Creating and supporting a pipeline of targeted female founded startups and scaleups
  • Opening doors by ensuring female founders have access to corporate, government and business networks
  • Showcasing female founders – you can’t be what you can’t see.

The program also collaborates with industry and government partners to deliver events, opportunities and resources to support women to continue their business journey and develop into thriving Innovation Driven Enterprises (IDEs).

How can the Backing Female Founders Program support you?

Two key initiatives:

  • Female Founders Co-investment Fund – available to innovative female founded businesses undertaking an early-stage capital raise with new investors.
  • Accelerating Female Founders Program – available to organisations delivering business support initiatives such as events, workshops, programs or mentoring, to address barriers and increase participation of female founders. Round 1 Recipients of the program are now delivering support to founders, with Round 2 Recipient programs coming online from July 2024.

Other initiatives under the program:

  • Showcasing – profiling, celebrating and championing female founders’ stories and successes to the broader community. Please email if you are interested in being showcased.
  • Opening doors – providing opportunities for female founders to participant in events, networks and forums to make connections with potential investors, customers and other supporters to help take their businesses to the next level. Please join the Advance Queensland Female Founders LinkedIn group to receive notification of these opportunities.
  • Learn – sharing useful videos to support business growth.

Supporting Data

The founder journey, never an easy one for anyone, is considerably harder for women. It is well documented that women-owned businesses face a range of barriers to growth – including economic situation, difficulty building a high-quality network and access to capital ranked the number one barrier for women founders in Australia.

The Backing Female Founders Program aims to address these barriers by supporting female founders in developing and growing their businesses.

Some key statistics which illustrate some of the challenges faced by female founders in developing and growing their businesses include:

The State of Australian Startup Funding 2023 (Cut Through Venture/Folklore Ventures) report notes:

  • Only 4% of total $3.5B VC funding went to 100% women-founded businesses, 26% of total funding went to businesses with at least one female founder; and 70% went to male-founded businesses
  • 75% of women founders believe their gender has impacted their ability to raise capital compared to 9% of male founders
  • Only 14% of women founders believe there are many funding options available compared to 26% of male founders
  • Only 26% of women founders feel supported by the wider Australian Entrepreneurial Community and Startup ecosystem compared to 57% of male founders.


Connect with Advance Queensland through our Facebook, Instagram, X and LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with the latest activities as initiatives are rolled out throughout the three year program.

Advance Queensland Female Founders LinkedIn group has been established to connect Queensland Female Founders to opportunities, networks, events, their peers and other supports to take their business to the next level.


For any specific enquiries for the Backing Female Founders programs, please email: