Applications are now open for the government’s Alice Anderson Fund which will invest in early-stage capital for up to 60 start-ups. Interestingly, the fund is named in honour of Alice Anderson, a Victorian mechanic and entrepreneur who founded Australia’s first all-women motor garage in Kew in 1919.
As per a statement provided by the government, nominated start-ups for co-investment must be 50 per cent owned by at least one woman, or have a 30 per cent ownership stake by women, including one woman in an executive role.
If there is a board, it must have representation of at least 30 per cent women, it added.
The fund is being led by start-up agency LaunchVic and will see the government co-invest between $50,000 and $300,000 for the new businesses.
The move to introduce the fund comes after a 2019 study which found just 19 of 104 Victorian start-ups that received angel or venture capitalist investment had a woman as founder.
“We’re backing women-led start-ups by ensuring there is more capital available for their businesses to gain traction and scale up quickly,” said Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford, commenting on the rollout.
“Now is the time for investors to leverage our co-funding and put a new generation of women entrepreneurs in the driver’s seat.”
Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams echoed a similar sentiment.
“We’re changing the game and providing more options for women to be involved in Victoria’s start-up sector now and into the future,” she said.
The new Victorian initiative comes following World MSME Day on 27 June which this year recognised the rise of “womenprenuers” as being a key trend driving business growth.
“On World MSME Day, I want to thank all small and family businesses for their vital contribution to Australia’s prosperity, wellbeing and community,” Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson said.
“Female entrepreneurs have been acknowledged on World MSME Day as being a crucial part of the global SME ecosystem who are looking for new growth opportunities.”