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Are you a female tech start-up founder based in Victoria? This new program is your chance to meet a great mentor


Startup Victoria’s Female Founders Committee has launched Ignite – a program open to Victorian female tech start-up founders who want to focus on achieving two key milestones over a 6 month period.

A 2014 report on women entrepreneurs by the Kauffman Foundation found that of the 350 female tech entrepreneurs interviewed about their chief challenges “lack of available mentors” was at the top of their list. This is a gap that the Ignite program looks to tackle head on.

Startup Victoria Board Director and digital agency Founder, Michelle Bourke, says there are at least 100 female tech start-up founders in Melbourne alone, but the challenge is in finding the promising ones and then helping to introduce them to the right networks, build partnerships, grow their customer or revenue base and access investment.

What is Startup Victoria’s Ignite program all about?

The program is aimed at driving real, reportable outcomes and will run using Melbourne based female co-founded start-up, MentorLoop as the platform of communication between mentors and mentees “We’re excited to be able to run the program using a platform that has been built by the audience we’re aiming to help.” Michelle says.

Applications for the Ignite mentor program will be open until the end of March 2016. Successful applicants will work closely with a handpicked mentor over six months to deliver two core milestones for their business.

“We didn’t think the traditional approach of tapping mentors on the shoulder first would be the most effective way to achieve real outcomes. Instead, we’re starting by understanding who these founders are, what milestones they’re hoping to achieve and the type of business they’re looking to grow. From there we can individually match start-ups with most appropriate mentor for the best chance at success. And the search won’t be limited by location – if the right mentor is in the Perth or San Fran or London or Israel then that’s where we’ll look,” said Michelle Bourke, Board Director, Startup Victoria.

Michelle Bourke
Michelle Bourke

80,000 hours.org has compared a number of social intervention type programs and those that match the unique needs of a mentee with a mentor over a longer period of time achieve the most positive results so Ignite’s unique approach is focused in the right direction.

To be eligible, female founded start-ups must be current members of Startup Victoria, have at least 30 per cent ownership in their start-up, be based in Victoria and be close to MVP/beta launch or further in their journey.

The program is free, but each successful applicant will be responsible for sharing their story with the community and reporting the outcomes of their mentorship experience.

Startup Victoria’s Female Founder Committee will report on difference the program makes to the start-up ecosystem and the Victorian economy collectively by number of jobs, capital raised, introductions made and customer or revenue growth supported.

To find out more about how to apply, sign up here.