Melbourne’s Girl Geek Academy has launched “the world’s largest all-women startup incubator”, on the back of its female entrepreneur participation program #SheHacks.
The seven-week #SheHacks incubator will be developed by Girl Geek Academy’s recently appointed entrepreneur-in-residence Holly Liu – who sold her mobile gaming firm Kabam for about $1 billion early this year — and Startup Onramp founder Colin Kinner.
Girl Geek Academy co-founder and chief Sarah Moran said that having Liu come from Silicon Valley is “a real coup”.
“Not only for her incredible insights into the startup and business world – but also as an example of a woman who has founded a US billion-dollar company from a pipe dream,” she said.
“Having Holly help drive the incubator will instil confidence in the women that they too can achieve this success.”
About 30 startups will be admitted into the incubator from the original #SheHacks program, which saw Girl Geek Academy run hackathons, bootcamps and mentoring throughout this year with an aim to get 1,000 women interested in establishing tech businesses.
Those startups, plus potentially some candidates to join from outside #SheHacks, makes the scale of this incubator the biggest all-female program of its kind, according to the Girl Geek Academy.
Girl Geek Academy had raised $1.3 million earlier this year to fund such initiatives, with $300,000 coming from the Victorian government.
“My initial reaction is that the tech community in Australia is much more accepting of women than Silicon Valley, plus there is huge local government support for the industry. Couple this with initiatives like #SheHacks incubator, and you’ve got a really strong platform to make Australia a great place to be a woman in a startup,” said Liu.
Kinner said the incubator would aim to encourage female participation in the tech industry as well as maximise the participant startups’ chances of becoming successful.
“We’ve recognised that Australian entrepreneurs often lack the ambition of their overseas counterparts, so the program will focus on building confidence and encouraging participants to work on global opportunities from day one,” he said.