SheStarts: The documentary series that's all about female startups

The documentary series that’s all about female startups

When it comes to startups in Australia, we’re making some progress on getting more women involved, with the number of female startups increasing from 18% in 2015 to 25% in 2018.

That’s no doubt thanks to the support of some across different industry sectors seeing the huge amount of opportunity and potential in supporting and working with female-owned startup.

One such program, SheStarts, has taken things a little further. In the second year of facilitating female startups through the accelerator at BlueChilli, the program also documents the journey of the founders through an extensive documentary series on what it means to be a tech entrepreneur in 2018.

The series follows the founders as they step out of their comfort zones to pitch game-changing business ideas. It runs through the pressures they face, the fears they overcome, and the conversations they have on what it means to secure funding and scale their businesses.

The founders featured include Danielle Owen Whitford, Andrèz Coco, Dr Annie McAuley, Zoe Condliffe, Laura Simmons, Lily Dempster and Carolyn Deng.

You can follow the series here.

Women’s Agenda also wanted to share this message from SheStarts program director Nicola Hazell, as the new series gets launched this week, and as Nicola herself is about to embark on a start a new life chapter, becoming a mother. 

In less than two weeks time, I’m going to become a mother.

For me – as is the case for many – it’s an exciting, yet daunting time. Among the last minute rush to ‘be prepared’ for the great unknown, I’ve found myself in the quieter moments, wondering “what will I tell our daughter about the year she was born?”.

There’s no doubt, 2018 has been a rather significant year for women.

Certainly, we’ve witnessed – and experienced – our fair share of setbacks… the events of the past few weeks in US politics among some of the most disturbing.

Here in Australia, our own so-called “gender wars” have been fought in the boardrooms of some of the nation’s biggest and most influential companies, where women still make up less than 30% of ASX listed board representatives and just 14 of the country’s ASX 200 CEOs are female. In the halls of Federal Parliament, the statistics have not gotten any better with women’s representation in the current Australian Government as low as it has been in almost 20 years.

But amid the shadows of persistent inequality, this year there have been many shining moments of progress.

From Oprah Winfrey’s powerful Golden Globes address heralding a new day on the horizon; to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s historic appearance with her baby Neve at the United Nations General Assembly; and just last week, the announcement that this year’s Nobel Peace Prize would be awarded to Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon in war. Courageous, inspiring people whose actions are not just driving change in our world today, but are creating ripple effects for generations of women and girls to come.

These are the stories I will share with my daughter – significant moments in the year of her birth that will no doubt shape the future she will grow up in.

Of course, I’ll also share a few stories of triumph closer to home. Like the fact that in 2018, the dial gradually began to move for women in my own industry, with the number of female startup founders here in Australia having risen from less than 18% back in 2015 to around 25% this year. Slow but meaningful progress in the right direction.

Most of all, I will tell her the stories of some of the women leading this change. Like the group of women who came into my life just nine months ago – around the very time she was conceived – when they were selected to take part in our second cohort of the SheStarts accelerator at BlueChilli, to turn their big ideas into global tech companies.

Follow the stories of inspiring female founders in the SheStarts Documentary Series, out now on LinkedIn:

These women are redefining what it means to be a tech entrepreneur. They are all new to startup land, representing a diverse range of backgrounds, industries, ages and ambitions. But each of them share the desire to have a positive impact in the world, and they’ve shown great determination by stepping into this new world of tech to do so.

There is no question, each of their startup businesses have the potential to change lives. But together, the message these women send to the world has the potential to change the future. Because by challenging the prevailing Silicon Valley image of a startup founder, commonly portrayed as a young white male in a t-shirt and sneakers, the stories of these women make it possible for others to finally see themselves in the opportunities of this new economy.

So perhaps it doesn’t really matter what stories I chose to I tell my daughter about the year she was born. What matters is that by the time I do, such stories have become the new reality of her future.

You can read Nicola’s full post over on LinkedIn. It is shared above with permission.

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