Women’s start-up weekend

Sydney Startup Weekend

On February 16, UTS is hosting Sydney Women Startup Weekend for women who are interested in learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. Careers with STEM took at look at what they’ll be doing and why we need more women working on start-up business ideas.

What is the mission of the Startup Weekend?

Sydney Women Startup Weekend is about equipping women with the knowledge, contacts and skills to succeed in the startup space. They’ll spend 54 hours on one idea – developing it, testing it, and launching it.

While doing this they’ll learn about design thinking and lean startup methods, as well as gaining insight into the startup world in general. They’ll meet amazing mentors from UTS and some of our partner organisations like BlueChilli and Wisetech, as well as successful female founders, including alumni from our Hatchery Accelerate program.

We’re hoping this will encourage them to keep developing their ideas and ventures to become part of Sydney’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Teams will be pitching their ideas too, and we have some amazing prizes lined up including co-working space, a Women in CleanTech fellowship, and more to help support participants to continue the ventures they develop across the weekend.

What are you hoping that women get out of the event?

Our ultimate aim for Sydney Women Startup Weekend is for women to leave the event with a greater understanding of founding an enterprise. However, we hope they leave with more than that. We want women to leave the event feeling like part of a community. This is a place for women to meet the friends, co-founders and mentors that will become a crucial part of their startup journey.

All participants become part of the Techstars grassroots movement that has run events in over 700 cities and 150 countries worldwide, bringing together 193,000 people and creating 23,000 teams. For this event, they’ll also become part of Sydney’s startup community and be connected to other UTS events and programs.

For educators, we hope that this event will build their confidence in entrepreneurial education. This is an opportunity for them to experience the founding of a startup and develop skills that they can apply to their classrooms.

Why do we need more resources that give women a start in business?

“We can already see how entrepreneurship is breaking down the gender gap in business and society. Startups are the leading creators of the jobs of the future, with one in four startups in Australia now launched by women. 38% of these have full time female employees and 42% of startup jobs are part time. This is all contributing to a new female-fair business culture, and engaging more women in startups will develop more future female business leaders. However, there is still much to be done – progress doesn’t happen by accident.

Universities have a critical role to play in encouraging impact-focused entrepreneurship, celebrating diversity in our role models and helping graduates take these skills and mindsets into the world. For example, the UTS Hatchery Accelerate program boasts a female founder rate of around 57%, and we’ve put a considerable effort into achieving this result.

We have a great team of female staff that play a key part in developing our programs. We have females at the forefront of our marketing activity and we proactively reach out to female founder teams, who have a great idea but may not have considered applying. We also support the development of confidence and other soft skills, through our mentoring network, including more female role models.

I’m proud to be championing such efforts at UTS, and to be able to call on a strong network of female leaders to help all of us succeed in this mission.” – Professor Margaret Maile Petty, Executive Director, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, UTS

Event details here.

Heather Catchpole

Author: Heather Catchpole

Heather co-founded Careers with STEM publisher Refraction Media. She loves storytelling, Asian food & dogs and has reported on science stories from live volcanoes and fossil digs


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