The Kickstarter Challenge could make your dream a reality
We’ve all had those daydreams of creating the next viral success and making it big — the Kickstarter Challenge could turn those dreams into reality.
It’s a program designed to help Australian women turn their passions into a profession with a prize pool of $60,000 designed to help women break through barriers.
Described at its launch this week by Minister for Women Katy Gallagher as a program “that can change lives,” the Accelerator for Women Enterprise’s Kickstarter Challenge— partly funded by the Australian Government’s Women’s Leadership Development Program—aims to equip women with vital tools and knowledge to forge a path in entrepreneurship.
For last year’s winner Hailey Brown, it has seen her storytelling app Vacayit blossom.
“Joining the Accelerator for Enterprising Women was truly a pivotal moment for Vacayit,” the Vacayit CEO and Founder said.
The app, which provides immersive audio guides to travellers who are blind or with low vision, has now been consumed over 41,000 times.
“Thanks to the Enterprising Women’s Kickstarter Challenge we were able to fast track our business in a way that I honestly didn’t know was possible,” says Hailey.
“The media training, social media and graphic design support, along with pitch feedback were all instrumental in putting everything into place.”
Kickstarter Challenge entrants have the chance to walk home with up to $30,000 to help them turn their passion into a profession—but it is so much more than just a competition.
“People starting a new business need mentoring, they need advice, and they need a step up’” says Chair and director for the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia, Matthew Addison.
“Programs like this help people with a good idea to actually turn it into a viable option.”
That mentoring, advice and support is provided through Female Founder Festivals and Incubator Workshops (yes, Canberra will feature on the program!) in the months leading up to the call for submissions, which will be open from July to October 2023. It’s about equipping emerging entrepreneurs with the skills they need to navigate what is often a challenging—and sometimes lonely—journey.
For Canberra-based entrepreneur Jordan Franklin, the chance to connect is driving her towards entering (although the prize pool also doesn’t hurt!).
“When you’re an entrepreneur, you do spend so much time alone…so connecting with like-minded people is real privilege, and it’s something that can be a real make or break in the experience of trying to get your idea off the ground,” Jordan said.
That power of connection is something which Katy Gallagher says has proven invaluable throughout her career.
“There are still times where I am the only woman at the table and I look forward to the moments where I get to work with my female colleagues and we can support each other when we experience moments where we are left out of the discussion or have to fight to be a part of it,” Minister Gallagher says.
“These programs are so important because they’re targeted and provide those interventions that we know work.” In the words of last year’s winner, Hailey Brown, “The worst that can happen is that you fail but you learn a lot. I’ve never learnt more than I have owning a business”.