She Starts Out

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She Starts Out

What’s it all about?

EY is proud to announce She Starts Out is returning for 2022. The business mentoring program is aimed exclusively at social impact entrepreneurs who identify as LGBTQ women or non-binary people* and applications are now open until 18 March 2022. 

What are we doing? 

Building on the long-established focus EY has for supporting entrepreneurs, this dedicated program acknowledges the additional intersectional barriers faced by LGBTQ women and non-binary people as they build their start-up businesses and seeks to accelerate their progress and commercial success. The vision is to create a space for these entrepreneurs to flourish and grow, through a series of EY clinics specifically tailored for social impact businesses, as well as access to an EY business mentor for guidance and support.

Why is this program so important?

She Starts Out creates a unique space for LGBTQ women to accelerate their business progress and commercial success. A US-based study in 2016 revealed that female LGBTQ entrepreneurs are at a distinct disadvantage in growing their businesses, with 70% of female LBT entrepreneurs unable to raise viable business funding. Additionally, an Australian study in 2018 identified that this cohort was significantly less likely to seek out mentoring. This dedicated program acknowledges the barriers faced by LGBTQ women, provides tailored support and creates a positive, lasting impact on the broader community.

What are the business clinics?

Run virtually as online group sessions, these business clinics are an opportunity to benefit from the professional experience of the EY facilitator while also sharing challenges, opportunities and experiences with other members of the cohort. This year’s topics include:

  • LGBTQ identity and personal brand
  • Social impact outcomes measurement
  • Managing your finances
  • Customer Research
  • Business development - developing a sales pipeline
  • Early stage finance - preparing for investment

What does an EY mentor do?

EY mentors are ideally located in the same city as the participant, to allow for in-person meetings where appropriate, although this may not always be possible.  The EY mentor works with the participant one-on-one to work through current business challenges and provide alternative perspectives or approaches based on their experience.  The nature, frequency and duration of the mentoring relationship are agreed between the parties but for example could be a monthly meeting over the term of the program.

What did previous participants say?

“She Starts Out… connected me with an incredible group of peers facing similar barriers and opportunities. It’s incredibly comforting and inspiring to have found a community who really understand.” 

“By creating this program, EY has leveraged their platform to help connect people who may not have otherwise been able to connect and that’s invaluable.”

The program will be run virtually from April to June 2022 and is open to applicants from across Australia and New Zealand. The principal applicant should identify as an LGBTQ woman or non-binary person, and the business should be for-profit with a strong purpose for social impact in furtherance of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Disclosing an LGBTQ identity is a sensitive and personal matter and so no public announcements will be made relating to individual participants’ involvement in the program without their express prior permission. 

*Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people who identify or may be perceived as women. This includes cisgender women, transgender women, and non-binary people who may be perceived as female or feminine (regardless of their gender identities) and therefore may face many of the same challenges.

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