The NSW government is opening four pre-accelerator programs to support founders from diverse backgrounds and increase the number of social impact startups entering the market.
The programs will support under-represented groups, including women from diverse backgrounds, who want to drive positive change and deliver social impact through entrepreneurship.
“Startups can hold the key to solving some of society’s biggest problems and we want to grow the capabilities of entrepreneurs who want to make a difference for the community,” said Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology Anoulack Chanthivong.
“We also want to build a more diverse innovation ecosystem, which is why these pre-accelerators include opportunities for female founders to take part, along with people from diverse ethnic backgrounds and people with a disability.”
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The programs will be delivered by Startmate, I2N (University of Newcastle), iAccelerate (University of Wollongong), and UNSW Founders (University of NSW).
Around 60 participants will take part in the pre-accelerators, running across Sydney, Newcastle, and Wollongong, where individuals who have a startup concept but are unsure how to progress, will receive coaching and mentoring to further develop their ideas.
Chanthivong said the “pre-accelerators are designed for people at the beginning of the startup journey” and that on completion, participants can then join an accelerator to “receive further training and mentoring to launch their own venture”.
Wollongong mum Jessica Clark completed a pre-accelerator program with iAccelerate, and went on to launch eco startup Earth Worthy, which sells ethically sourced blankets and sustainable jute bags.
Clark said that while getting started as an entrepreneur “can be a bit daunting”, the pre-accelerator allowed her to connect with like-minded people on a similar business journey.
“I felt I was part of a community that supported each other, and through the guidance of mentors and experts in their respective fields, I was able to expand my business networks and ensure I had access to trusted resources.”
Pre-accelerator programs will be delivered over the coming months and into next year.
This article was first published by Women’s Agenda.