In the past week, Perth Angels and Startup WA discussed how to more readily support female originators in Western Australia. The two occasions are very much connected, and have generated some very interesting thoughts. We await their specific reports, and even more critically, any action they will take.
A disturbing fact revealed in the Startup WA meeting is that 92% of financing in WA last year went to male-only established companies (that detail, civility of Techboard).
As we released this article about facilitating diversity in examination and IT around the same time, an email blunder from a central government office just made a difficult situation worse for the female organizers because of the limited help (or lack of it).
How not to email
The government’s Boosting Female Founders Initiative [BFFI] led to an extraordinary beginning to the week for some female organizers seeking grant subsidizing.
Australia’s $52.2M drive is designed to assist female business owners in overcoming obstacles encountered when accessing financing and getting the help needed to start new businesses.
However, the botched announcement on Monday did little to help female organizers. It’s far from helping them.
Candidates in this year’s BFFI program began receiving messages informing them of the results of the Expression of Interest procedure promptly upon the commencement of the day. They appeared to have been admitted to cycle 2 of the award financing, but this appeared to be a major barrier at the same time:
In 2018, WA female authors were faced with a troubling situation in which no award grants were made to nearby new companies, which is why it is easy to imagine their joy at getting the good news. It is estimated that more than 2,200 EOI applications were submitted to WA in 2020. A total of 124 (5.6%) of the EOI candidates were invited to submit a full application, including five from Western Australia.
Even so, none of the 51 awards awarded came from Western Australia. Due to these events, Startup WA kept in touch with the Minister of Mindful (Karen Andrews) requesting to know why.
Back to this Monday… .
Many WA female authors have received admissions to Round 2, creating a sense of fervor.
In any case, things took a deplorable turn when a second round of messages arrived, expressing:
“I am sorry to inform you that you received a false warning for your Boosting Female Founders Expression of Interest at the beginning of today. I apologize for any confusion or burden this may have caused.”
Just 150 of the 1,800 ‘effective’ EOI messages should be sent, an AusIndustry representative told the candidates, leaving them baffled and amazed. A program meant to support female authors had turned out to have the opposite effect.
A message had been sent to each individual who had NOT traversed stating they had done so. Major mistake.
The CEO of Noisy Guts, Dr Josephine Muir, was one of many female authors scratching their heads after the day ended, stating, “It is incomprehensible how an award program can be so badly run.”
Amanda Walker of WA HomeStay was also disappointed in the botched statement, saying:
The following email apologizes for the trouble and disarray, and says that my EOI application was insufficient. It is not only bewildering, but extremely frustrating. My blunder was both amateurish and humbling”.
The effort was not particularly amazing, to be honest. Startup News has been aware of (at least) a few female writers who have made it through to Round 2 and we hope all goes smoothly for them all with their applications, but one wonders whether this is the best experience for the client (and, test paying applicants).
We will eagerly await the moving of female authors in our area in 2021, anticipating their numbers.