Tell us more about the Women in Clean Energy Program you ran this year as a pilot in Melbourne. How did it go? What did you learn and observe?
The Women in Clean Energy Fellowship
was designed to inspire, educate and support more women to start clean energy startups. Early in 2019, we engaged in a co-design process with mentors, entrepreneurs and 'end-users' to plan a program that provides both a space for inspiration and personal growth and a comprehensive overview of the process and skills needed to start a startup. The result of this co-design process was a three-month program which we piloted in Melbourne between August and November. Eleven talented women were selected from a large pool of applicants to participate in the program.
We packed a lot of learning and growth into the three-month fellowship. A wide range of material was covered including; how to hatch an idea, accounting and legal for startups, how to pitch, how to secure investment and sessions on values, resilience and overcoming fear and self-doubt. We also had two delicious dinners with incredible female founders Renate Egan and Emma Jenkin who spoke to their own experiences, challenges and advice for our fellows.
It was hugely successful! We had an incredible group of women whose connections grew stronger and spirits grew fiercer week by week. It was amazing to see this group of women grow and thrive over the course of three months. Each of them left the program more confident in themselves and their ability to start their own company, and with a bunch of new passionate, badass friends. I am so proud to say that, of the eleven who participated in the fellowship, five women have gone on to start their own startups. That is really incredible, five more women entrepreneurs in Australia!
My main learning was that there is simply no stopping a group of powerful, motivated women! I can't wait to see what's next for these ladies. What can we expect in 2020?
In 2020 we are expanding the WICEF to Brisbane and Sydney! That means the fellowship will run in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney between March and May. We've engaged in a comprehensive feedback process with our recent graduates and mentors and have iterated on the program to make WICEF 2.0 better than ever!
What can we expect? We can expect to see women uprising! In 2019 I saw the power of bringing eleven strong, talented women into a room to talk values, fears and clean energy startup ideas. This group went from strength to strength as the fellowship progressed. In 2020 we'll expand this network of women founders to Brisbane and Sydney. I'm excited to see what comes from a network of clean energy women warriors spread across Australia.