May 2021, Erina, NSW – LEP Director, Laura Prael, has been selected to provide expert mentoring to women owned and led startups, as part of the Australian Government’s Boosting Female Founders Initiative.
The Boosting Female Founders Initiative helps women entrepreneurs, including women from regional and remote locations, Indigenous and migrant women, and women with a disability, to overcome the disadvantages faced in accessing finance and support to grow their startups.
The Initiative provides targeted support on a co-contribution basis to female-led and owned startups to scale into domestic and global markets and achieve their business objectives.
The Australian Government has established a select pool of qualified and experienced mentors from around Australia to support Boosting Female Founders grant recipients. The mentoring cohort includes organisations and individuals:
- from regional and remote locations
- with experience assisting Indigenous or migrant owned businesses
- with experience assisting startup founders with a disability.
In addition, mentors have been chosen for demonstrated skill in fostering female entrepreneurship and harnessing the full potential of their startups.
“To build a flourishing, innovative economy, we need diversity in the startup landscape. But when you look at women’s representation business, the results are discouraging,” said Laura.
According to various reports, including The Women & Entrepreneurship report commissioned by Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship in 2017, on average, just 29 per cent of funded companies have at least one female co-founder. And, only 34 per cent of companies are run by women, which has increased by just 3 per cent in 20 years. At that rate, we’ll be waiting another 100 years to achieve a balance. However, a lack of data collected on Australian startups means that the real disparity could be worse.
“Unconscious gender bias, lack of visibility, less capital, fewer professional networks, and lower confidence are just some of the many barriers that female entrepreneurs face. I want to change that.”
As an advocate for women, Laura has mentored and trained more than 500 women over her 15-year career on topics including brand branding, content marketing, and career development. She has supported women and young people to succeed through pro-bono mentoring and presenting roles for organisations including The Opportunity Collective, Illuminate Education, UNSW, and The University of Newcastle. Laura is currently a presenter for TAFE NSW’s Women in Business program – a NSW Government and TAFE NSW initiative that offers a fully subsidised online program for women who are looking to establish a business, or who are already operating a business and want to scale up.
The Boosting Female Founder Initiative mentoring program runs for 12 months between May 2021 and April 2022. During this time, Laura will support various female entrepreneurs on their startup journey.
To learn more about the Boosting Female Founder Initiative, please visit https://business.gov.au/grants-and-programs/boosting-female-founders.