Minister for Women Michaelia Cash: "Young female entrepreneurs should not be a rare breed".


A new generation of young female entrepreneurs is changing the landscape of business innovation in Australia.

They herald what I coin the millennial woman.

They are a powerfully influential community of women who are passionate and motivated.


Gen George (centre), founder of OneShift. Image via Instagram: @oneshiftjobs.

Committed to thinking outside the box, these women inspire each other and those around them to succeed, as active participants in the world-wide tech start-up community.

These are young women like Gen George, founder of award-winning tech start-up OneShift, an innovative app that matches up job seekers with shift or part-time work.

Women like Jess Wilson, the brains behind fashion app Stashd, or Nikki Durkin the founder of 99dresses.

Jess Wilson, founder of Stashd. Image via Instagram: @stashd.

I met all three recently at a Women in Innovation breakfast at Fishburners, a start-up community in Sydney, and I learnt how each of their businesses started in the same way—with one simple idea.

These women took a leap of faith to turn their ideas and initiatives into tangible outcomes, consolidating their talents into successful business ventures.

They are part of a growing worldwide force of female entrepreneurs tapping into new local and global markets and exploiting new niches.

It is women like Gen, Jess and Nikki and the many before them, who have forever altered the way in which women participate in entrepreneurial activities around the globe.

Nikki Durkin (right), founder of 99dresses. Image via Instagram @99dresses.

Ernst and Young has identified that female entrepreneurs own about a third of all businesses in the world and in the next five years, the global incomes of women will grow from US$13 trillion to US$18 trillion—almost twice the growth in GDP expected from China and India combined.


So how can we inspire and support more of our own talented Australian women to join this powerful and growing group of entrepreneurs?

Australian women do not lack in entrepreneurial spirit – Gen, Jess and Nikki are just three examples of the many thousands of young Australian women who already intuitively have it. We must equip Australian women with the tools to seize the opportunities that exist in the modern, agile and increasingly globalised economy.

We must support all young Australians, men and women, to take advantage of the digital opportunities that now flood our economy.

We must ensure that our education system is agile enough to keep up with evolving growth sectors, and work to inspire more girls to excel in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects at school— moving beyond teaching girls how to consume technology, and giving them the tools to create it.

Senator Cash announces the Turnbull Government’s Women’s Saftey Package on The Today Show:

Video via 9JumpIn

For our female entrepreneurs, grabbing hold of these opportunities pays significant dividends. The Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship has found female tech start-up founders earn on average twice as much as their male counterparts.


For women balancing work and family, becoming an entrepreneur is also an attractive choice, and a welcome alternative to the often rigid structures found in more traditional workplaces.

Initiatives the Government announced under the last budget to support business start-ups, such as expanded tax concessions will encourage more women to contribute to our country’s future economic growth.

As both Minister for Women and Minister for Employment, I’m in a unique position to drive greater women’s participation in the sectors that will house the jobs of the future, further strengthening our Government’s economic reform agenda.

“I’m in a unique position to drive greater women’s participation in the sectors that will house the jobs of the future.” Image via Twitter.

Supporting more women venturing into the world of tech start-ups would boost participation— remembering that an increase in women’s workforce participation of just 4 per cent could add $25 billion to Australia’s GDP.

The way I see it is quite simple. Supporting more female entrepreneurs has a twofold pay-off: it will deliver greater financial security for women themselves, and it will build Australia’s position as a world leader in innovation.

Successful young female entrepreneurs in Australia should not be a rare breed. We must support and inspire the next generation of women to grasp the opportunities that come with entrepreneurism, to pave the way of the millennial woman.