FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are our FAQs that address the following topics for SheStarts 3:

Applications

What do I need for the application process?

Your new ideas! We recommend that you think about how to communicate your idea, so that it is clear and shows us that you have thought about how to approach the problem you’re addressing.

The application will involve answering questions on a form where you will outline your understanding of the problem and your thoughts on a potential solution.

What questions will I be asked?

All questions are for us to understand the problem you want to solve, your bold idea that looks to solve the problem and why you are the person best placed to build something new.

Once you register to apply with your name and email, we will send you the list of questions for you to copy to a text editor to answer in your own time.

We recommend taking at least 1 hour to draft your answers and ensure you have included all relevant information in your application form. Then copy and paste your final answers into the form before submitting.

When do applications close?

Applications close on Tuesday 23rd April 23:59 AEDT.

Does my idea have to involve using new technology?

At SheStarts and BlueChilli, we build tech businesses. We believe that tech can help create global scalable solutions to problems. If you have an idea, and you think technology could help you bring your idea to life, we’d like to hear from you. We love working with founders who are passionate about problem solving and are open to exploring the ways that technology can help them achieve their goals.

What is a tech startup?

Tech startups harness the power of technology to realise a solution or idea. SheStarts is looking for ideas that utilise technologies from simple web applications to AI and machine learning - and everything in between.

We are encouraging and empowering problem-solvers to create a positive impact with big ideas! Whether it’s leveraging a network, community or customer base, utilising insights from data to provide personalised, powerful and valuable experiences, or automating the way products, customers and information are moved and shared, the opportunities are endless.

In the SheStarts alumni of women founders, we have startups the range across many industries with different types of technology that solve some of society's biggest problems - these startups include and are not limited to:

Eligibility

Who can apply to SheStarts?

SheStarts is designed to empower women*led business to solve big problems with technology. BlueChilli values diversity because we believe this makes for better problem solvers and decision makers. We look for founders with diverse experiences, skills, cultures and perspectives. BlueChilli provides participants with the startup resources they’ll need help to build and launch their startups.

SheStarts is specifically designed to encourage a diverse community of founders, representing our society. We have had founders who are also new mothers graduate from our program, and we did everything we could to create an environment that was enabling and empowering for these women.

*BlueChilli/SheStarts recognises that gender exists on a spectrum and is working towards true gender diversity and equality in business. Programs like SheStarts exist to bring equality and opportunity to anyone who identifies as a woman (including cis, trans and non binary people).

What is a women-led business?

We exist to provide a platform for women led businesses. For us, this means that the idea, or business should be 51% woman owned.

Can I apply to SheStarts if I don’t have startup experience?

Yes. You do not need to have a team, a product, or previous startup experience to apply for the accelerator.

Can I apply with more than one idea?

Yes, you can apply with how many ideas you’d like. You will need to submit a different application form for each of your ideas and to make sure that you give them different names.

The evaluation of the entries will be done by a judging panel that won’t have access to your personal details or demographic information. If after selecting the top 40 applications and matching them with their personal details we realise you’ve been selected with more than one idea, we’ll invite you to the bootcamp with the one that scored the highest.

What ideas are suitable for SheStarts?

The goal of the SheStarts is to fund, build and launch successful tech startups led by entrepreneurial women. You don’t have to be experienced in the tech or startup industry to apply. The founders that usually go through the BlueChilli accelerator program are experts in their field who have experienced or witnessed a problem that they want to solve. We’re looking for early-stage founders who have an idea of how technology can provide a solution.

Do I need to have a business set up already?

You do not need to have a business set up to apply to the startup accelerator. In fact, the SheStarts program is best suited to entrepreneurs with early-stage ideas that will benefit from validating their idea before spending money on setting up a company structure. As part of the program, we will help you set up your business.

I already have a startup, can I apply?

Sure! If you’re an early stage startup you’re more than welcome to apply with your idea to the SheStarts program. We love ideas from napkin to prototype and everything in between. Get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more about whether we are right accelerator program for you.

Do I need a team to apply for SheStarts?

Both teams and individuals can apply for SheStarts. The SheStarts program is designed to help you go from idea to launch and then support you to build the right team when your company is ready to grow.

Do I need to be an Australian or a permanent resident to apply for SheStarts?

No. However, to receive the equity investment, you must incorporate your business in Australia, which requires a director that resides in Australia. You are eligible to apply to SheStarts, but may be ineligible for equity investment.

Selection

How are SheStarts applications assessed?

After applications close on Tuesday 23rd April 23:59 AEDT, we screen the ideas for eligibility, with evaluation broadly based on the problem, the opportunity, and the team.

We look for the strongest applications that can demonstrate why their idea represents a real opportunity, that the right time for execution is now, and that they are the best person to make it happen.

From hundreds of applications, up to 40 finalists will be invited to participate in a two-week bootcamp in Sydney where they will be challenged by the startup experts at BlueChilli on the feasibility and viability of their ideas. Founders who successfully complete the bootcamp and demonstrate the right characteristics will then pitch to a selection committee from the startup community for one of 15 places in the program.

What happens if I am selected as a finalist for the bootcamp?

Entrepreneurs will be invited to take part in a rapid two-week bootcamp in Sydney where they’ll learn about startups, validation, pitching, business models, growth and many other topics to help them get more clarity on the potential of their ideas. The bootcamp consists of masterclasses, workshops, individual and group activities, and mentoring sessions with BlueChilli Entrepreneurs in Residence, Product Managers, Developers, and Advisors. At the conclusion of the bootcamp, (up to) 15 startups will be invited into the accelerator program.

At least one (co-)founder needs to be available to attend the bootcamp in Sydney on the following dates:

  • In person: 15th & 16th May
  • Online: 22nd May
  • In person: 29th & 30th May

What happens if I am not selected for the bootcamp and/or accelerator?

Our goal is not just to find and fund the best ideas, but also to grow the pool of entrepreneurs focused on cutting edge technology solutions. Of those not selected for the bootcamp, we recommend you use BlueChilli's free online startup training, StartupU so you can keep progressing your idea and reapply in the future.

Where can I find the terms and conditions for the SheStarts program?

The terms and conditions can be found here.

Accelerator Program

What are the key dates of the program?

SheStarts 3 application dates below.

  • Applications open: Monday 25 March 8:00am AEDT
  • Applications close: Tuesday 23 April 11:59pm AEDT
  • Two week bootcamp for 40 shortlisted finalists: Wednesday 15 May until Thursday 30 May based in Sydney
  • Selection Showcase in Sydney to finalise 10-15 founders for SheStarts 3: Thursday 30 May

SheStarts 3 Accelerator program dates for monthly in-person immersion sessions below.

  • Immersion 1: Sydney - Wed 26 to Thu 27 June
  • Immersion 2: Sydney - Wed 31 July to Thu 1 August
  • Immersion 3: Melbourne - Wed 21 to Thu 22 August
  • Immersion 4: Melbourne - Tues 17 to Thurs 19 Sept
  • Graduation Showcase: Wed 27 Nov

What do I get for being a part of the SheStarts accelerator?

The SheStarts program offers an attractive proposition to early-stage startups to immerse with a team of 30+ startup experts at BlueChilli who have invested in and built over 140 startups.

In return for 15% equity, BlueChilli provides:

  • A technology team of developers and engineers to create a minimum viable product (MVP)
  • Expertise including an assigned Product Manager and Entrepreneur-in-Residence, market-proven curriculum and a cohort of peers
  • Co-working space in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane throughout the six-month accelerator program
  • Access to subject matter experts and customers to validate your idea
  • An initial AUD$38,000 to get started, with up to a further AUD$500,000 in follow-on funding available.

How much value do I get from having BlueChilli build my MVP?

The best way to get a product to market fast is to have a clear vision and direction from the CEO, a product manager who understands how to most effectively shape the product roadmap, great engineers who can test and deploy the right technology, and a hustling team to validate and get feedback from customers.

If you spend too much time on product, it slows you down and prevents you from launching and iterating. If you spend too little time, your MVP might not be good enough to convince customers. After working with over 100 startups, we have found that the ‘sweet spot’ between time to market and quality sits at around 300-500 hours of product R&D, testing and iterating.

You will benefit from our whole team’s expertise in how to build and launch the best technology solution for you, as quickly as possible. As shareholders in your business, we are here to help you succeed, and you will learn an enormous amount in terms of working with technology products and teams in the process.

Do I have to pay for product development?

No, BlueChilli earns sweat equity in your company by loaning you a team of startup experts to help you validate, build and launch your startup. All startups in the SheStarts program will have the benefit of working closely through a series of sprints over 12 weeks, with outputs agreed between the Product Manager, Entrepreneur-in-Residence and you.

What if I have my own product / technical team?

While we specialise in helping non-technical founders build tech startups, BlueChilli does work with teams who already have some of their own technical capability. Many of those startups choose to augment their existing tech skills with those of our team as we have over 30 people that you can draw experience from across a range of disciplines.

For example, you might have a developer on your team, but you could accelerate faster by developing a piece of software to use, so you would draw on those skills specifically during your sprints. Or you could have a technical team yourself, but benefit from having a product manager to help prioritise the roadmap, or designers to work on delighting users with the interface.

We’re proud to offer startups in the program the flexibility to work with the EIRs and Product Managers to figure out exactly what you need, so we can help you get to success faster.

Can I negotiate the amount of equity taken?

No. We appreciate that equity is often negotiated between a single investor and an entrepreneur. However, in an accelerator program, all participants come into the program on the same terms of investment.

How does it work if I don’t live in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane during SheStarts?

During the accelerator, we host monthly immersion sessions in person (please see above for dates). We do our best to accommodate all our founders, no matter where they are located in Australia.

You will be assigned a BlueChilli Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) to guide you through your startup journey. We have EIRs in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Most of the communication with your EIR can be facilitated remotely through video conference, but at key dates during the 6-month accelerator, it is in your best interests to attend meetings and events in Sydney and Melbourne (see first question in Accelerator Program section for dates).

Do have I to be a part of the SheStarts documentary?

No. SheStarts is focused on sharing stories of female founders the journey they go through to create global tech companies. For the first two iterations of SheStarts, we produced long form documentary series. For SheStarts 3, we’re producing shorter videos and written content. Although we want to share your stories to encourage the next generation of women entrepreneurs, we are committed to accommodating the needs of our founders.

About SheStarts & BlueChilli

What is SheStarts?

SheStarts is one of BlueChilli’s flagship accelerator programs designed to help women build tech startups. Our mission is to ensure women are included in tomorrow’s economy, ensuring their incredible ideas, talent and skills are activated, and have access to the tools to get started.

Together with our partners and collaborators, we are addressing the serious shortage of women both participating in and leading startup companies by giving them access to their first investors, their first product launches and their first pilot and/or scaling opportunities.

Who are the SheStarts partners?

Our SheStarts program would not be possible without the support of a number of Australia’s industry leaders who are champions of diversity and innovation. Our foundation partners include two of Australia’s leading brands, ANZ and MYOB. We also work in partnership with leaders Google for Startups, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Herbert Smith Freehills. You can see more about our partners here.

How do I stay up to date with SheStarts?

The best way to keep in touch with what’s happening in SheStarts – whether to follow our current founders in the program or be the first to hear about our next program opening – is to sign up to our newsletter. Sign up to our newsletter at the bottom of any page on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Who is BlueChilli?

BlueChilli is a technology startup accelerator specialising in helping early stage founders build and launch their high growth, high impact ideas into market. We do this by providing their first investment, their first product build and launch, and facilitating their first customer and pilots.

BlueChilli is Australia’s largest startup accelerator, bringing together entrepreneurs and industry partners to build impactful, investable global startups. BlueChilli has invested in and built over 140 startups already and achieved a portfolio value of over $500M including 4 exits and 1 IPO. You can read more about BlueChilli here.

BlueChilli runs a number of accelerator programs, including The Stockland Accelerator, Xcelerate, SheStarts and CityConnect.

Where is BlueChilli based?

BlueChilli have people based in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and a few regional areas.

My question isn't answered here - how do I get in touch with SheStarts?

If your question isn't answered here, please email us at hello@shestarts.com

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