Female Founders Grant Program

The Federal Government Boosting Female Founders Initiative will run over five years from 2020-21 to 2024-25. The program is part of the 2018 and 2020 Women’s Economic Security Statements, which help to support more Australian women into work and Australia’s international obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women.

As the Government asserts, “Innovative start-ups play a critical role in the economy by bringing new products and services to market and driving job creation. Start-ups are the largest contributor to job creation in Australia. Greater levels of entrepreneurship among women and better access to resources by women entrepreneurs can contribute to innovation, job creation, economic growth and social inclusion.”

The program provides support to female founders of start-up businesses to scale their businesses into domestic and global markets. The program can also provide expert mentoring and advice to successful applicants.
Round 2 opened on Monday 8th March 2021 and the deadline for initial EOI applications is 22nd April. Those shortlisted will then submit a full Grant Application.

Target Activities
Eligible activities can include, but are not limited to:
o developing software and apps
o launching and scaling products
o product development and marketing
o purchase of equipment to enable growth
o expansion to other markets
o access to independent management (for example C-suite, advisory board)
o access to relevant professional development

Funding and Contribution
There is a total of $11.6 million is available for the upcoming round. Grants will range from $25,000 to $400,000 for metro businesses on a 50% contribution basis. If a business is in a regional area, Indigenous owned or if the founder has a disability or is a refugee, then the grants will range from $25,000 to $480,000 and will be on a 70% Grant/30% contribution basis.

To be clear, to be eligible applicants must:
o be female founded (majority owned and led by women)
o be a start-up
o have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
o be one of the following entities:
o an entity incorporated in Australia
o a partnership
o a sole trader.

Applicants must also have the financial capacity to fund the minimum cash contribution, and will need to provide proof of this during the application process. Applicants are therefore encouraged to source capital prior to or during the application process.

Closing Dates
o The program will open for EOI applications (Stage One) on 8 March 2021 at 9 am AEDT.
o EOI applications (Stage One) will close on 22 April 2021 at 5 pm AEST.
o Successful EOI applications will be invited to submit a Stage Two grant application. Stage Two is expected to open in July 2021.
o The Department is anticipating informing successful applicants and commence funding from November 2021, with projects ordinarily to be completed by April 2024.