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Accelerating women founders

The untapped investment opportunity

Start-ups are vital to Australia's economic prosperity. However, we’re not fully leveraging our women entrepreneurs: only 22% of Australian start-ups are founded by women. SBE Australia asked Deloitte Access Economics to explore trends in women-founded businesses and the impact of support programs.

The start-up ecosystem in Australia has changed significantly over the last decade. Support programs like SBE, Heads over Heels and Scale Investors have had a range of positive impacts on participating women founders – particularly in improving confidence and access to professional networks. Program participants also have higher expectations of revenue growth, with almost three-quarters attributing their improved business growth trajectory to program support.

However, a number of barriers exist for women founders, especially around accessing capital. Only 0.7% of all private start-up funding in FY22 went to solely female founding teams, despite funding increasing tenfold between FY18 and FY22. As a result, women are not raising the amount of capital needed to scale.

Shifting the dial on funding presents a significant economic opportunity to Australia to better leverage our women entrepreneurs. However, to do so requires structural and behaviour change – more co-ordinated action and commitment to change across the entire start-up ecosystem is needed.

Published: September 2022

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