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The Federal Government opens new round of grants to address a shortage of women in STEM

The second round of the Federal Government’s $8 million Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) grants program is now underway, with organisations encouraged to apply for funding to support activities that eliminate barriers to girls and women pursuing STEM education, careers and businesses.

Funding between $5000 and $250,000 is available to businesses, not-for-profits, education provider and research bodies under the program. The first round of WISE grants, announced in December 2016, saw approximately $4 million awarded to a range of projects including coding workshops for teachers and primary school girls, networking and mentoring for female entrepreneurs in rural and remote Queensland, drone flying and programming camps in Northern Australia, and a new ‘Superstars of STEM’ initiative to raise the profile of Australia’s women in science, technology and engineering.

The announcement of the second round of WISE grants has been welcomed by MYOB, with CEO Tim Reed stating that Australian businesses will fail to reach their full potential unless we create diverse and inclusive workplaces.

As a tech business, building diverse and inclusive teams is a competitive advantage for us, but we know that women make up less than a third of university graduates in STEM,” he said.

“MYOB is paying particular attention to some of the inherent challenges in our education, training and organisational structures which limit opportunities for women and hold all of us back from achieving our potential. In part, we’ve sought to address this by finding alternate methods for recruitment within our business, creating the ‘DevelopHER’ initiative, a 360–hour paid internship program designed to re-skill women who are seeking to re-enter the workforce as software developers. We believe that the wide array of perspectives that result from diversity promotes innovation and business success, and we need to ensure there is good female representation in technology jobs of the future.”

Applications for round two of the WISE program close on 15 November 2017, and the successful projects will be announced in early 2018. The Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship program is part of the ‘Inspiring all Australians in Digital Literacy and STEM’ component of the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

To apply or for more information, head to business.gov.au/wise

James Harkness

James Harkness

James Harnkess previous editor at Dynamic Business

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