Our friends at Smart Company take a look at a new scholarship that’s helping to level the playing field for women in tech. A timely initiative given just over 25 percent of tech start-up founders in Australia are female.
Local female entrepreneurs (or soon-to-be entrepreneurs) will be given the opportunity to receive mentoring, education, and connections in the tech industry through a new $100,000 Women in Tech Scholarship Fund backed by edutech startup Academy Xi and incubator Tech Ready Women.
Announced this week, the $100,000 will be divvied out to a number of successful applicants who are either working in tech fields or seeking to work in them; are already entrepreneurs or business owners; or who are unable to receive meaningful education outside of the scholarship.
The program which will run over 12 months and will give successful applicants access to various courses, workshops, and mentoring opportunities through Academy Xi and Tech Ready Women. The funding will be used to tailor the course to the applicant, the companies say
Over the 12-month period, the scholarship is also guaranteed to be awarded to one female entrepreneur from the indigenous community, one female entrepreneur returning to work after at least one year out of the workforce, and one female entrepreneur from regional Australia.
“At Academy Xi our immediate mission is to empower everyone with skills in design and technology. We want our alumni to transform companies, build new ventures, and ultimately make positive impact in the world,” Ben Wong, co-founder and chief executive of Academy Xi, said in a statement.
“Tech Ready Women are an amazing partner to support more women in tech. Together, we can empower women to push boundaries, break stereotypes, and equalise the gender balance.”
The main objectives of the scholarship are to further empower women in the workforce and technology sector, and to upskill women who may already be working in the space. Gender diversity has long been an issue within tech circles, with the most recent Startup Muster report revealing just 25.4% of startup founders in Australia are female.
Additionally, only 26% of the companies invested in by nine top Aussie investment funds have female founders or co-founders, however, that is markedly better than the global average of 2%.
“I am on a mission to accelerate the rate of women entering the tech space ensuring that they are equipped with the skills, education and sense of community they need to empower their journey,” Christie Whitehill, founder and chief executive of Tech Ready Women, said in a statement.
“Women in technology face an undeniable uphill battle, and I have seen that interactive education and mentoring can make it possible for non-tech women to confidently become founders of tech startups that are on the path of success. Women want to be involved in tech, but we need to do more to support them throughout the journey.”
More information about the scholarship is available here.