Innovative female entrepreneurs have the chance for hands-on coaching and opportunities to raise capital by applying for Springboard Enterprises Australia’s 2014 Accelerator Program.
The City of Sydney has partnered with Springboard Enterprises Australia to build on the success of last year’s inaugural Australian program.
The 2013 graduates saw eight female entrepreneurs connect with key investors to help raise capital for sustainable business growth. Applications for the next accelerator program are open until 3 December.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City was working with Springboard Australia to give start-up entrepreneurs a boost, when they need it most.
“Creating breakthrough success stories takes years of work, and networks that are often shut for women entrepreneurs,” the Lord Mayor said.
“This program sets women up with business leaders who’ve had their own business successes, and investors with money to spend. In its first year, the program’s already turning early-stage businesses into real success stories.”
“The City of Sydney is proud of its ongoing relationship with Springboard Enterprises Australia and we are committed to innovation, which is crucial for the future of our economy.”
Springboard Enterprises Australia gives female entrepreneurs their own personal advisory team – well-connected investors, lawyers, bankers and business development professionals who work together to coach the women-led business owners.
Participants receive input into business strategy and post-coaching, present before an audience of well-connected investors, corporate partners and industry experts, helping them to secure capital essential to growing their business.
Springboard Enterprises Australia chairman Wendy Simpson, OAM, said the program was unique because the organisation is non-profit with no financial stake in the companies it assists.
“Support for entrepreneurs is imperative in Australia. We open doors for innovative businesswomen by providing invaluable access to international contacts, networks and opportunities without them having to leave Australia. Once these women enter the Springboard alumnae, a lifetime of global support is on tap,” Ms Simpson said.
“A recent study commissioned by Google shows Australia could add more than $100 billion to its economy and create more than half a million additional jobs by boosting the entrepreneur community,” she said.
Marketing specialist, Natasha Rawlings undertook Springboard’s first Australian program and completed the intensive coaching program a few months ago with successful results.
“It can be confronting for women to get up and pitch for investment in front of middle-aged men… and if there’s a woman in there, they are much, much tougher,” Ms Rawlings said.
Springboard flew a number of high profile US women to Australia who had “been there, run that” to give Ms Rawlings advice about how to position her business for investors. One of her coaches was Joan Lyman, a graduate of the first ever Springboard course in the United States in 2000. Ms Lyman could be expected to have a good eye, having sold her internet security company to the computer giant Dell for $US600 million ($650 million).
Ms Rawlings’ company StreetHawk offers the ailing retail sector a way to fight back against online shopping by using software to create highly personalised marketing through smart phones.
“If you can attract people into your store you probably have got a better chance than your online competitor of making a sale. Online and offline have converged now, so we need to adapt to change,” she said.
Rawlings returned to Australia to start her own business after being at the top of her field in Britain.
Ms Rawlings also has a lot to say about being a female entrepreneur looking for finance in a very male-dominated investment world, and about juggling life as a mother and businesswoman.
“Men invest in businesses that they understand. They generally hate shopping and therefore do not focus on the mechanics of the retail industry, resulting in little investment in technology that would help Australian retailers thrive.
“They are also ‘bullet proof’ when pitching for finance, a quality that investors want and women often don’t project,” she said.
Visit https://sb.co/australia to apply for Springboard’s 2014 program.
About Springboard Enterprises Australia:
Springboard Enterprises Australia is a non-profit business accelerator connecting female innovators with investors and influencers. The local organisation is set to replicate the program’s success in the US. The US organisation has trained more than 500 women-led companies which have raised $5.6 billion in financing. More than 80 per cent of Springboard US’s companies are still in business, including ten IPOs. Visit www.sb.co/australia for more details.
For more information, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Catharine Munro.
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