The Prime Minister visited ACS’ River City Labs Tuesday for the launch of a new initiative to boost the number of young women founding startups.

Accompanied by the Assistant Minister for Women, Amanda Stoker, the Prime Minister opened the Accelerator for Enterprising Women’s $60,000 Kickstarter Challenge.

The Kickstarter Challenge is part of the national Accelerator for Enterprising Women initiative funded by the Australian Government’s Women’s Leadership and Development Program run by COSBOA, the Council Of Small Business Australia.

“It was a great to welcome the Prime Minister here for the launch of the Kickstarter Challenge and River City Labs is excited to be involved with the program,” said River City Labs’ General Manager, Pauline Fetuai.

“We were delighted to be asked by program delivery partners 89 Degrees East, to help launch the Kickstarter Challenge to promote female entrepreneurs, something RCL has been at the forefront of doing over recent years.”

Open to all women (or those who identify as female) in Australia aged 18 - 24 who have a business or entrepreneurial idea, the Kickstarter Challenge offers up to $60,000 in seed capital funding up for female entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their business idea.

Winners will also receive mentorship and industry support to bring their business and entrepreneurial ideas to life.

At the launch, the Kickstarter Challenges program delivery partners, 89 Degrees East, released a report finding gender inequality in entrepreneurship and STEM represents a significant missed opportunity for Australia’s economy.

This missed opportunity was highlighted by ACS’ 2021 Digital Pulse which identified a missed opportunity of $11bn over the next twenty years due to gender inequality. Digital Pulse, prepared by Deloitte Access Economics and released last week, also projected that achieving gender parity in the ICT industry could alone generate 5,000 jobs per annum over the next 20 years.

“I wish there had been an amazing program like the Accelerator for Enterprising Women when I left school!” Continued Fetaui, “programs that provide opportunities to encourage young people to test their ideas and invest in their pursuits, the pathway to an entrepreneurial future is now much quicker.

“We can all benefit from seeing programs like Enterprising Women excel and we at River City Labs and the Australia Computer Society are excited to be here today to launch the Enterprising Women Kickstarter Challenge.”

Finalists in the Kickstarter Challenge will also win a trip to Canberra to pitch their ideas to an expert panel of judges. Applications for the Kickstarter Challenge are now open at and close at the end of August 2021. Judges will include leading Australian entrepreneurs, politicians and industry leaders.