Written on the 29 September 2016 by Paris Faint


POWERHOUSE Australian companies iVvy, Mentorloop and Canva all share a common thread.

During their respective growth phrases, these companies joined a host of other successful women-led ventures through the Springboard Australia Business Accelerator, a program which is once again hot on the search for its next big disruptor.

With nominations open today for the 10 coveted spots in the 2016 program, coordinator Topaz Conway (pictured) expects a new batch of national heavyweights will soon be revealed.

"We're trying to identify the next 10 superstars within Australia, while also showing women entrepreneurs what they can really do," says Conway.

"We want them to redefine the concept of 'big' - to know what a successful global company looks like, and to not be afraid of success, money and asking for what they need."

CEOs who are successful in earning a spot will start off by spending 3 days with industry professionals examining the core of their business model.

In the following weeks, a coaching team will be established around the business to provide help across all areas including domain expertise, market sector knowledge, legal advice and accounts assistance.

According to Conway, the ultimate goal of the program is to help women feel completely comfortable talking about money, their business case and why they are investable.

She says the circumstances for women in business and entrepreneurship has vastly improved since the inaugural business accelerator program in 2013.

"We had our very first accelerator launch in 2013, however at the time nobody really thought there were any women entrepreneurs out there," says Conway.

"However, it's been a growing market - the grapevine has been wonderful in that there's been some amazing companies that have gone through this program and achieved great things."

Since 2013, alumni of the program have collectively raised more than $120 million.

Alumni business highlights also include an IPO, a backdoor listing and a recent single-round capital raise of $12 million.

With regards to Australian entrepreneurship on the whole, Conway believes the future is bright for those who can successfully manage a phase of growth.

"It's getting much easier to be an entrepreneur in Australia, there is more seed capital and more angel capital out there," she says.

"Where it gets difficult is in the growth capital phase, for women and men both, because we haven't quite reached the point in this country where there is a sufficient amount of readily available capital to truly globalise a company."

She believes Springboard fits squarely into that piece of the puzzle.

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Author: Paris Faint





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