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Girl Geek Academy scored $1.3 million to encourage 1,000 women to establish tech startups

Geek Girl Academy’s April Staines, Lisy Kane, Tammy Butow, Amanda Watts and Sarah Moran. (Source: supplied)

An Australian organisation promoting female participation in tech startups has received a huge boost.

Melbourne’s Girl Geek Academy announced on Tuesday that it completed a $1.3 million funding round, including $300,000 from the state government’s LaunchVic scheme

The funds will be used for the #SheHacks program, which the Academy claims as a world-first, to recruit 1,000 women interested in establishing startups. It will put them through bootcamps and mentoring, culminating in a hack-a-thon taking place in June.

“It is currently very challenging for women to find fellow founders, which is often crucial to starting and succeeding in a new tech venture,” said Girl Geek Academy co-founder and CEO Sarah Moran.

“The #SheHacks Victoria program will provide multiple touch-points throughout the year for women to find co-founders and receive valuable support for taking their business ideas to market.”

The June hack-a-thon will see 200 women forming 60 teams to build, test and pitch a minimal viable product (MVP). The teams are then given one month to attract its first users before finalists exhibit their startups at a showcase event.

The Academy says university students would be targeted for #SheHacks, to “maximise the impact”.

Girl Geek Academy’s grant came as part of a $4.9 million funding round from LaunchVic, which also included accelerator Startmate and innovation hub Seeva.

“We are so pleased to have the recognition and support of the Victorian government for #SheHacks Victoria along with a very significant commitment from our partners GO1, plus 21 supporters throughout the Victorian startup community,” Moran said

#SheHacks started as a pilot in 2014, with this year’s event in Victoria the first full-scale program. While Girl Geek Academy did not disclose any plans to bring #SheHacks to other states, Moran welcomed participants from across Australia to join this year’s program.

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