Think back to when you were just starting out as a small business owner…
What help would you have loved?
What advice would have made all the difference?
What funding would have given you the kickstart you desperately needed?
Well, COSBOA, supported by 89 Degrees East, is answering all these questions with the Academy of Enterprising Girls (for girls 10-18) and now Accelerator for Enterprising Women (for women 18-24). These programs, funded by the Future Female Entrepreneurs Grant, are building a pipeline of young female entrepreneurs by providing them with the tools they need. By empowering these young women today we are setting them up to be the self-employed job makers of the future!
Since launching in February 2021, the Accelerator for Enterprising Women, with support from Visa, has already made a positive impact on the lives of many young women, successfully delivering a series of National Summit Events, Incubator Workshops and the Kickstarter Challenge.
Launched by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 18 May 2021 in Brisbane, the Kickstarter Challenge is a competition for young women aged 18-24 to submit their entrepreneurial or business ideas and go in the running to win a share of $60,000 seed capital funding and other fantastic prizes.
The competition attracted 82 entries across four categories while every submission was automatically entered into the Popular Vote category which garnered more than 8,000 votes.
A panel of entrepreneurs and industry experts had the tough job of selecting one finalist from each category to proceed to the Grand Final alongside the Popular Vote winner. Let’s meet the five finalists who will pitch their ideas, ‘Shark Tank’ style, on Wednesday, 16 February 2022 at Questacon in Canberra.
Elaine Kwong - Escollate
Elaine is a frontline hospital clinical pharmacist. Since the onset of COVID-19, she noticed that healthcare staff felt incapable of solving problems as individuals and were daunted by publicly challenging the status quo.
Founding Escollate combines two of her greatest passions – to create an innovative culture and improve health systems.
“I believe in the power and wisdom of the community, where people can play active roles in shaping their work environment,” Elaine said.
“Through Escollate, we can build a safer healthcare community to freely escalate problems and collate ideas together.”
Amy Silver - The Dough Co.
In addition to studying Arts and Law (Hons) at Monash University, Amy co-founded The Dough Co. to help her dad’s catering business pivot during the extended Victorian lock-down periods.
The Dough Co. makes premium, allergy-friendly, ready-to-bake cookie dough designed to solve the problem of messy family baking.
“Our target customer is mums with school children… they are the most time-poor and adverse to mess,” Amy said.
“However, we have also established a secondary target market of people with allergies. As I am anaphylactic to nuts… I know first-hand how exciting it is to find a product you’re not allergic to.”
Sustainability & Impact finalist
Mursal Azadzoi - NanaPad
Mursal is an International Business student at RMIT with a strong interest in humanitarian innovation and a passion for gender equality and education.
Her mission through NanaPad, a bio-degradable sanitary pad made from banana fibres, is to stop a normal biological process from becoming a barrier to gender equality by tackling period-related school absenteeism and removing the stigma around a woman’s reproductive cycle.
“Being the daughter of a refugee mother who had established her independence through entrepreneurship, I am aware that women-owned businesses hold a very special social license that equips them with the power to drive feasible change,” Mursal said.
Hailey Brown - Vacayit
In the same week Hailey learned she was a finalist in the Kickstarter Challenge, she was awarded the Young Talent Innovation Winner at the World Tourism Forum Lucerne for her business idea, Vacayit.
Vacayit is an accessible storytelling app for blind and low vision tourists. It replaces visual representations with sounds, stories and descriptions that invoke all the senses from destinations and experience providers around the world.
“Growing up with someone who was born completely blind, I have seen and heard about the many frustrating aspects of the tourism industry that does not cater for the blind,” Hailey said.
Popular Vote finalist
Ellana Pierce - El Adrift
Ellana ‘El’ Pierce, has always had a ‘fiery passion’ to learn more about the ocean. This led her to the University of the Sunshine Coast where she studied Animal Ecology, with specific interest in restoration, coastal and marine environments.
Inspired by the movement back to conscious consumerism, and driven by her love of swimwear and ocean conservation, El created El Adrift, swimwear made from Econyl - a nylon made from fishing nets removed from the ocean.
“I wanted to do more than starting to rid the ocean of waste, I wanted to create something beautiful from it,” El said.
The Kickstarter Challenge Grand Final will be held at Questacon in Canberra on Wednesday, 16 February 2022. In addition to sharing the seed funding, all five women will also receive mentorship support from Visa and a place in Future Women’s ‘Jobs Academy’.