SA Government launches Fearless Innovator Grants Program for female founders

SA Government launches Fearless Innovator Grants Program for female founders

Women in Innovation (WINN) president Paula Turbill.

The South Australian Government has today announced a two-year pilot program providing grants to innovative, female-founded businesses in partnership with the Fearless Females Network (FFN), adding to other initiatives for the state's startup sector including matched funding and a new network for fostering collaboration.

The Fearless Innovator Grants program will be facilitated by the non-profit Women in Innovation (WINN) which has already supported 1,000 women in the state, and will draw on $110,000 from the government's Research and Innovation Fund.

Announced at today's _SOUTHSTART conference, the program recognises the fact that women consistently report hardship in accessing the capital required to start and scale their businesses. Applications will open in June 2024 with grants to be awarded to successful early-stage businesses at the annual WINN Awards in November 2024 and 2025.

The grants add to the government's Seed-Start grants which offer up to $500,000 in matched funding to fast-track the commercialisation of an innovative product or service, and the recently established Innovation Leaders Network, a platform to foster the exchange of knowledge and inspire collaboration between seasoned entrepreneurs and emerging startups.

The government is also supporting up to 10 South Australian tech businesses to join Tribe Global Ventures’ delegations to the US or UK, for a curated in-market experience to pursue business exports and/or expansion.

"Each startup businesses – as defined by their high growth and global outlook – has the potential to be transformative for the South Australian economy," says Deputy Premier Susan Close.

"Many of these innovative businesses are also having significant positive impact on their customers and communities – whether that be a new medical device with improved health outcomes for patients, software to predict and mitigate the impacts of climate change, or technology that helps a business operate more efficiently and achieve higher profits.

"All these outcomes – and more – are being achieved right now, right across South Australia’s startup and innovation community."

SA Deputy Premier Susan Close.
SA Deputy Premier Susan Close.

 

Minister for Small and Family Business, Andrea Michaels, says the latest initiative will directly tackle inequitable access to funding for female-led start ups after just 26 per cent of funding for start ups went to women-led businesses in 2023.

"Small businesses are the heart of South Australia’s economy contributing $49 billion each year and ensuring equitable access to capital is a strategic move to boost our state’s economy for the future," she says. 

Women in Innovation (WINN) president Paula Turbill describes the partnership as "groundbreaking".

"This unique funding initiative aims to address the gender gap in startup funding by providing tailored support and capital to female founders in South Australia," Turbill says.

"Aligning this program with the Women In Innovation Awards is a great way to continue supporting South Australia’s female-founded start-ups further along their journey and achieve even more success.

"Women supporting women has always been a priority for WINN, and this program fits in perfectly."

Kelly Baker Jamieson of Fearless Females says the grants will help female founded businesses early in their journeys to support their success.

"To move the female funding results in a positive direction, this program is a step forward to provide much needed capital, confidence and connections," she says.

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