IWD2018: action, results & equality in start-ups

To celebrate International Women’s Day, all week bluenotes will be guest edited by respected journalist and author Catherine Fox. We’ll be publishing content on women, their experience in the workplace and the future of equality. We hope you enjoy it.

You’ve heard time and time again diversity is not just a nice to have. Overwhelming data shows the correlation between diversity and profitability. We also know technology is rapidly changing the world but women are missing out. 

Women represent more than 50 per cent of the population but in the ICT sector alone make up less than 30 per cent of the workforce

"Success is having a great idea crossed with hard work, good timing, raised by the power of your network” - Eckersley-Maslin

Less than 20 per cent are startup founders and of those, less than 4 per cent funded. Yet the data tell us women-led companies perform three-times better than those with male CEOs. 


SheStarts is a program which has taken action and is getting results. It’s a six-month accelerator designed to empower female founders and a documentary series to inspire millions more, driving gender equality in tech and entrepreneurship.

In one year alone SheStarts has seen some incredible progress with its first cohort.

"With the support of our partners including ANZ we have now backed two cohorts of female founders to launch their startups with SheStarts; building their first product; winning their first customers, securing their first investments, and many already hiring their first employees as they grow and scale their companies," SheStarts Director Nicola Hazell says. 

"In addition to launching successful companies, these founders have stepped into new roles as leaders within their industries and the startup ecosystem, inspiring other women to get started."

"Sharing the real and raw stories of these phenomenal women building game-changing tech companies provides an opportunity for other women and girls to see themselves in an environment that, until now had appeared to be out of reach."

Through sharing the stories of these women SheStarts is helping create more female founders in Australia and encouraging an inclusive ecosystem with more women in the picture - driving a global dialogue.

Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, CEO of BlueChilli (who power SheStarts) says “the more I’ve observed success, the more I realise the winning formula is closer to ((idea + hardwork) + timing)^network."

"That is, success is having a great idea crossed with hard work, good timing, raised by the power of your network,” he says. 

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Cases for female-founded startups

Powered by big data, Neighbourlytics gives developers real-time insights into the unique social identity of the neighbourhoods they plan, create and manage.

“We knew we had a great idea, but had no clue how to make it happen,” co-founder and CEO Jessica Christiansen-Franks says.

Christiansen-Franks and her co-founder Lucinda Hartley highlight that you don’t need to be a coder to start, run and grow your business, you just need to have a bold idea and a passion for what you’re trying to solve.

“Honestly, applying for SheStarts wasn’t something we’d really planned. We never considered ourselves a ‘tech startup’ in the early days, we were just trying to solve a problem,” Hartley says. founder Emma Poposka stands by her vision that in the years to come data will be the most valuable resource in the world.

Her startup enables companies to access personal consented data with a superior level of relation accuracy.

Since graduating from SheStarts, Poposka and her team have onboarded 12,000 Bron users and more than 2.5 million data points.

One of the major challenges for any start-up is navigating through the world of capital raises, a challenge Poposka says was resolved through the help of SheStarts.

The most-useful agritech innovations will be those which come from farmers themselves, CEO and founder of FARMPay, Naomi Stuart says – because of their unique understanding of the issues they face.

“SheStarts enabled me to take FARMpay from ideation through to pilot. The program helps develop your business and give you the best chance to succeed.”

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At the heart of all of this is a problem which needs solving - women are missing out - and a huge opportunity for the world and Australia’s economic prosperity.

We know there is no shortage of big ideas, nor a shortage of passionate and talented women.

What we do have is untapped entrepreneurial potential and an opportunity to build teams in businesses that are better reflective of our communities.

Carina is innovation editor at bluenotes

ANZ is a proud partner of SheStarts

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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