The Matildas Effect Continues To Soar
No one predicted the change, and yet it feels as if nothing will be the same again. We’re calling it ‘the Matildas effect’ – the profound shift that has taken place thanks to Australia’s women’s national football team and the recent nation-uniting success that was the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The positive effect it’s had on the way we perceive women’s sport is undeniable, and yet it’s about so much more than sport.
It has sparked conversations about women in leadership, the need for gender pay parity and gender equality, both on and off the field.
The landscape is changing and nowhere is this more evident than in the world of female entrepreneurship and female-led small business. Despite the fact that for every 1.8 male entrepreneurs in Australia there’s only 1 female, there are plenty of reasons to believe this statistic will change, and plenty of support ready to back that change.
The depth of female entrepreneurship talent was on display in Sydney recently at She’s Next empowered by Visa. Held in collaboration with the Accelerator for Enterprising Women and Global Sisters, She’s Next invited 10 shortlisted exceptional women-owned small businesses to pitch their business growth plans for a share in AUD$65,000 worth of grants.
Three of those small businesses had been nurtured and supported by the Accelerator for Enterprising Women:
Pod Dietetics founded and directed by South Australian accredited practising dietitian Natalie Mullins, who oversees a team who provide inclusive, accessible and high quality nutrition support tailored to individual client needs.
Stella Athlete Management co-founded by West Australian entrepreneurs Lauren Gandini and Brieanna Mercer who run a team that supports and empowers female elite athletes through proactive, consistent and personalised management services. Both lawyers and sportswomen in their own right, they understand the unique challenges faced by elite female athletes and aim to empower them to make informed decisions through advice, education and support.
The Minister for Small Business, the Hon Julie Collins attended the event and congratulated all finalists including category winner Pod Dietetics, who won $10,000 while Quick Look and Stella Athlete Management each received $5,000.
Minister Collins noted: “We know that in 2022 small businesses contributed more than $500B to the Australian economy. They are where jobs in Australia are growing from … indeed 35% of people who manage small businesses today are women. That has been growing over time, [but] progress has been slow. Back in 2006 it was 31% so clearly we do need to see more progress in supporting women into entrepreneurship and into businesses.”
A national initiative funded by the Australian Government’s Women’s Leadership and Development Program, the Accelerator for Enterprising Women is already looking to support the next group of women with brilliant new business ideas through the Kickstarter Challenge.
Applications have recently opened for the national competition that offers $60,000 in equity-free funding to help women achieve their business dreams across four categories: STEM and technology; health, wellbeing and the care economy; climate change and sustainability; and women’s economic equality.
There’s also a popular vote category determined by members of the public who vote for their favourite idea, the winner securing a spot as the fifth finalist heading to Canberra.
Last year’s inaugural winner, 24-year-old Hailey Brown, used the $30,000 equity-free seed funding to scale up her inclusive travel app Vacayit which provides immersive audio guides to travellers who are blind or have low vision.
Hailey described winning the Kickstarter Challenge as a “pivotal moment” in her career.
The submissions are rolling in, and they’re inspiring. So if you’re a woman with a brilliant new business idea and are ready to take the next step, now is the time. The Matildas effect is in full swing. Let’s make the most of it.