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Female lead startups tapping the U.S. market

The University of New South Wales’s (UNSW) female-focused startup program New Wave has partnered with the U.S. embassy to launch its New Wave U.S. Ready Bootcamp. The program intends to assist female-founded startups in expanding into the U.S. market. 

U.S. ready Bootcamp 

The New Wave U.S. Bootcamp will provide a four-weeks of free mentoring in an educational program to eligible startups, with a focus on expanding their business into the U.S. The opportunity will be available to 10 successful women-led startups.

Support will be available to both established and budding startups in the tech sector. UNSW’s program is designed to empower female-led enterprises to be in the position to export goods to the U.S. within 12-36 months of completing the program. 

The demand for the U.S. ready Bootcamp came directly from graduates of the New Wave program. 

UNSW New Wave program manager Kristen Phillips said, “Startups that have been through the New Wave program have told us that there is a lack of market understanding when it comes to branching out into the U.S. 

“Our aim is to coach these startups to overcome entry barriers, technical challenges and the myriad of regulations associated with the U.S. market, as well as providing them with a strong network of mentors that have successfully launched businesses overseas.” 

She continued: “Along with laying the foundations for these startups, we’ll also help to find their U.S. market fit, ensure they’re investor-ready and have a strong U.S. market plan pitch in place.”

New Wave 

The New Wave program has supported eight cohorts of female entrepreneurs to launch startups through UNSW’s founder’s program. New Wave was created to bring female entrepreneurs into focus and give them the support they need. 

The program serves to encourage women with ideas to bring them forward and confidently find success. Ms Philips said that social barriers are a continuing struggle of enterprising women. 

She said, “The program is built by women for women and has been designed in consultation with female founders facing systematic gender barriers that make it difficult to engage in entrepreneurship.”

“Program participants work with like-minded women to develop tech-based solutions to solve real-world problems, supported by industry-leading mentors and role models. The program also broadens women founders’ investor networks and provides them with the frameworks to be investor ready.”

Bringing new ideas to market is the aim of the game at Founders UNSW, both for the economic benefit and to effectively solve some of the world’s complex problems. In this context, supporting women to develop their ideas taps into a previously underutilised pool of solutions.   

“Our aim is to see 500 more women entrepreneurs in the world by 2025, but ideally, we’d like to 10x that figure. We can only do this with support from the right partners though. If we get this right, we’ll see a huge boost to our economy and the ability to solve more real-world problems in new ways,” said Ms Phillips. 

U.S. market beckons

Boasting the world’s largest economy, successfully breaking into the U.S. market is equivalent to international success for Australian startups. 

Ms Philips said, “The U.S. market is hugely important – with a GDP of 22 trillion, it’s the world’s single largest economy in the world and should be the first place for any Aussie founders when expanding overseas.

“It’s also culturally similar and relatively easy for Aussie tech companies to make the move to operate in the U.S.”

New Wave U.S. Ready Bootcamp is financially supported by the U.S. Embassy’s Women’s Economic Empowerment Mentorship Program grant.

With support from inside the U.S., and the knowledge and skills of mentors who have been there and done that, female-founded startups will have the best shot at tapping the critical U.S. market. 

“Thanks to the financial support of the U.S. Embassy, we are able to provide this course at no cost for women-led startups with a UNSW Affiliation. Through the program, we’ll equip Aussie startups with the skills and knowledge they need to scale up quickly, which is something Australia’s COVID-19 recovering plan relies on – these female founders are literally our future,” said Ms Phillips. 

Female entrepreneurship 

Historically women are less likely to lead or found a startup company, but programs like UNSW’s New Wave are beginning to change that. Supporting female entrepreneurs is essential to social equity; it highlights and solves problems that were until now unidentified by the tech sector. 

According to Ms Phillips, breaking down the social barriers and prejudice against inventive women is the key to moving forward. 

She said, “Women simply don’t have access to the same level of social equity as males and COVID has aggregated this further. On average, female founders have fewer professional networks and opportunities for mentorship.

“Access to funding is also an issue, with female-led startups taking up to 9 months longer to secure funding than their male counterparts and only 5.2% of global V.C. funding going to female-led startups in 2020.

“This is a problem we can no longer ignore, and it’s why programs such as New Wave are so hugely important to level the startup playing field, which has long been seen as a boy’s club.

“While it is getting better, with women’s participation in entrepreneurship increasing by 20 per cent in the last three years — there is still a long way to go to reach parity.”

Increasing women’s participation in tech startups or startups of any kind will bring about economic growth; it will also begin to solve problems more or less ignored by male-dominated initiatives. 

“Increasing women entrepreneurship will significantly boost our economy, with reports suggesting the global GDP will increase by $5 trillion and in Australia will grow by up to 10%. We’ll also bring new ways to solve real-world problems, including those affecting women the most which have previously been deprioritised as a result of the male-dominated industry,” said Ms Phillips. 

Applications for New Wave U.S. Ready Bootcamp are now open until October 3rd

Read more: Pandemic fuels startup ingenuity

Read more:Leadership lessons from a school principal: What the next generation of female CEOs need to know

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Heidi Heck

Heidi Heck

Heidi Heck is a Journalist at Dynamic Business. She is a student at the University of Queensland where she studies Journalism and Economics. Heidi has a passion for the stories of small business, as well as the bigger picture of economics.

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