Female Founders Program

Supporting Queensland female founders to establish and grow globally successful businesses.

What's important

  • Supporting Queensland female founders through a range of programs, initiatives and funding.
  • The Female Founders Advisory Board Program delivers skills and exposure to effectively engage with advisors and establish best practice governance and advisory functions to support business growth.
  • The Female Founders Empower Program is a mentoring program created in Silicon Valley to better equip female founders to fundraise and excel in the international entrepreneurship ecosystem.

About the Female Founders Program

The Female Founders Program is a suite of initiatives designed to enhance Queensland female founder opportunities throughout the different stages of their entrepreneurial lifecycle.

The program aims to address the challenges and barriers faced by female founders navigating the innovation ecosystem.

We’re working on leveling the playing field by empowering and supporting female founders whether they are youth/emerging, startups, scaleups or going global.

This program is targeted at female founders in innovation-focused high-growth industries who are:

  • starting out and working on startup business skills and capability
  • scaling up nationally, or going global
  • looking for mentors and champions
  • wanting to attend networking events
  • getting ready to establish or take part in an advisory board
  • seeking connection with a community of female founders.

Advance Queensland has responded to feedback from women entrepreneurs within Queensland’s innovation community to shape and design the Female Founders Program.

Gender equity is a priority to the Queensland Government, which is supporting female founders to start and grow their business. It makes economic sense for the Queensland innovation ecosystem to be inclusive and equitable for female founders.

“The 2017 StartupAUS Crossroads report found that only 4% of startups have an all-female founding team and as few as 15% have at least one female founder.”

We look forward to changing this statistic. Come and be part of the journey!

How can the Female Founders Program support you?

Advance Queensland provides various programs, initiatives and funding to support female founders at different stages of their entrepreneurial journey.

Female Founders Advisory Board Program

Delivering skills and exposure to effectively engage with advisors and establish best practice governance and advisory foundations to support business growth. Delivered by the Advisory Board Centre, programs include:

  • Board Pathways Program (open for applications): providing entrepreneurial and innovative thinkers with the practical steps to develop board level engagements. This fully funded e-learning program aims to support Queensland-based founders to explore their own personal pathway to the boardroom. The online program will be available for registration until 31 December 2022. Although this program is part of the Female Founders Program, it is open to all Queensland-based entrepreneurs, not just female founders.
  • Female Founders Certified Chair Executive Program (applications are now closed and the program is underway): designed to support the development and participation of women entrepreneurs at a board level. Advance Queensland is partnering with the Advisory Board Centre to offer 12 scholarships for Queensland female startup founders to undertake this program.

Visit the Advisory Board Centre website for more information on all of their initiatives.

Women on Boards video case studies 

The Women on Boards video case studies have been developed in partnership with the Advisory Board Centre and Advance Queensland. Participants share their first-hand experiences and provide insights on the mutual benefits of having a diverse mix of people on boards. These videos are a valuable resource to learn more about boards and to encourage greater diversity and participation of innovative founders at a board level. The vidoes feature:

  • Jo Willoughby, Non Executive Director, Advisory Board Chair
  • Linda Ginger, Founder, Director, Advisory Board and Panel Member
  • Sandra Poon, Innovation and Strategy Consultant, Director, Certified Chair
  • Sonya Beyers, Chair, Non Executive Director, Advisory Board and Committee Member

Female Founders Empower Program

Applications are now closed and the program is underway.

The Empower Program is a mentoring program created in Silicon Valley to better equip female founders to fundraise and excel in the international entrepreneurship ecosystem. 

  • Advance Queensland has partnered with the United States (US) Department of State and Silicon Valley based Entrepreneur Futures Network (EFN) to deliver the Empower Program. 
  • Funding for the program is being supported by the US Embassy in Australia.
  • The program gives Queensland female entrepreneurs (under 40 years old) the opportunity to connect and learn from experienced female mentors in the US. 
  • It aims to help up to 45 talented, emerging entrepreneurs grow their skills and develop the professional networks and global connections needed to support their business ventures.
  • EFN has worked with more than 5,000 entrepreneurs, over 100 universities, 40 accelerators, and has over 500 mentors. Teams mentored by EFN have raised over $1 billion to date. 
  • Applications for Cohort 1 closed on 14 March 2022 with successful applicants starting the program in April 2022.
  • Applications for Cohort 2 closed on 23 May 2022 with successful applicants starting the program in June 2022.
  • Both Cohort 1 and 2 will finish the program in September 2022.

Visit Entrepreneur Futures Network website for more information.

What’s coming up?

Connect with Advance Queensland via our social media channels and stay up to date with the latest Female Founder Program activities and initiatives.