Not-for-profit Springboard Enterprises Australia expects to hear from more than twice last year’s number of female entrepreneurs when applications for its second ever start-up accelerator program close tomorrow.
Chairman Wendy Simpson said the program targets a very narrow set of applicants: women who have founded “high-growth” businesses that need capital to help reach a minimum target of $50 million in revenues and 30 staff.
“We actively encourage women to build businesses that are scalable,” she told Business Insider Australia. “Springboard entrepreneurs are different from your average woman entrepreneur in Australia.
“Men often find it easy to find other men to talk to about what they want to do, [but] a lot of women only have female role models that run ‘lifestyle’ businesses where they become an outsourced worker and can work from home.
“In the scenario where couples are trying to juggle child-rearing and careers, it’s generally the woman who will step back from their jobs. There’s a term for these ‘lifestyle’ business [founders]: ‘mumtrepreneurs’.”
Applications for the 2014 accelerator program generally have been technology focused so far, involving areas such as genetic engineering, advanced voice recognition technology, real-time food ordering systems, and custom photo printing.
Unlike other accelerators, Springboard takes no equity in the start-ups that go through the program. It is sponsored by the City of Sydney and businesses “wanting to build up a capacity” for female-led start-ups in Australia, Simpson said.
Next year’s Springboard entrepreneurs will attend Bootcamp from February 3 to 7 and are advised on business strategy and connected with a network of investors, lawyers, bankers and business people.
Simpson said it cost about $15,000 to put each start-up through the accelerator program, of which entrepreneurs were required to contribute $2,500 to encourage them to “ascribe value” to the program.
Eight entrepreneurs graduated from Springboard’s 2013 accelerator program, of a total 56 applicants. Simpson expects to field 120 applications for the 2014 intake, based on registrations so far. Eight to 10 businesses will be accepted into the program.
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