Christie Whitehill is the CEO and Founder of Tech Ready Women, a company focused on equipping women with the skills, mentoring and community they need on their start-up journey.
In the lead up to the inaugural Tech Ready Women “From idea to tech startup” event sponsored by the City of Sydney as part of a $25,000 cash grant to help more women start viable tech businesses, Christie shares her insights on how women in start-ups should approach grants and funding, and what the future looks like in this space.
Q: What are your top 3 tips for women who are eager to secure funding for their start-up?
A: Tech Ready Women were recently awarded a grant from City of Sydney to provide three events including “From Ideas to Tech Start Up – Get Pitch Ready” and some of the key takeaways I gained from this were:
- Don’t try and write it alone. Call up the grants hotline prior to writing your application – most often than not they are more than happy to provide insights into what they are looking for and what they are expecting, as well as talk you through the application process and what you need to provide.
- Don’t rush writing your application, have someone spell check and read over it to ensure you haven’t made grammar or spelling mistakes.
- This may seem obvious but be clear about the project objectives and outcomes. The clearer you set your information out with headings, bullet points and descriptions, the easier it is for the grant reviewer to understand what you are trying to achieve.
Q: Where should women be looking to find out what grants are available and if they’re eligible?
A: Starting a business can be exciting and all encompassing, but it can also be stressful and expensive. However, there is a range of business grants in Australia that can help alleviate some of that pressure.
I wrote a blog about this here recently, outlining business grants for women in small business that any woman with a start up should consider applying for.
In addition to this, simply searching online for grants within your specific, niche industry and researching your local government sites as well can be useful.
There is some helpful information here.
Q: Could you share your thought on the recent study that suggests when women do successfully apply for funding, are awarded less money than their male colleague?
A: We know now of the statistics indicating that women who receive venture funding bring in 12% more revenue than male-owned tech companies and are likely to have greater success overall.
However, I believe until we have more women in the leadership positions making the decisions of who gets the money and how much, then we’re not going see much of a shift. This is why at Tech Ready Women we’re working towards not only up-skilling women in tech start-ups, but also giving them opportunities for funding and eventually building our own fund solely for women led businesses.