Winners of female-led start-up program unveiled

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) has announced the winners of the 2021 edition of its female-led start-up program, New Wave.

The winners of New Wave’s “Cohort 8” are:

  • Cindi Shaw – founder of to GET, an online marketplace that connects local small businesses with local consumers and aims to tackle the disconnect between local businesses that are struggling to gain a digital presence and consumer demand for supporting local businesses.
  • Melody Shiue, Dr Joan Chiu, and Shikha Mendiratta, founders of Woosoo, which aims to eliminate the use of plastic needed for soap dispensers by creating soap capsules that dissolve in water, using eco-friendly packaging such as cardboard to achieve a plastic-free hand wash solution.
  • Elizabeth Zhong, Annabel Zhou, Vivian Shen and Livia Wijayanti, founders of Ardorne, which aims to reduce the 800,00 tonnes of fast fashion waste that enters landfills every year by helping shoppers purchase clothes they love online with the help of AR technology that allows shoppers to virtually try on clothing directly from their mobile phones.

The winners were announced last Friday following a virtual Showcase and pitch event judged by a panel of entrepreneurs, including UNSW’s Mary-Anne Williams; UNSW Chair in Innovation Michael J Crouch; Charlie Gearside, Founder of Eucalyptus; and Eliza Jackson, Venture Capitalist at Macdoch Ventures.

“This has been our strongest cohort yet,” New Wave’s program head Kristen Phillips said. “Our top ten finalists are testament to the incredible start-up ideas that so many women across Australia have, tackling real-world problems that are often deprioritised in the male-dominated startup ecosystem.

“Increasing women entrepreneurship is so important and will significantly boost our economy with reports suggesting that global GDP will increase by $5 trillion and in Australia will grow by up to 10 per cent,” Phillips added. “It’s such an untapped market opportunity and it’s why at New Wave we’re so passionate about helping female entrepreneurs. We’ve set a goal to help at least 500 more women entrepreneurs in the world by 2025, but ideally, we’d like to 10x that figure because the more women starting companies, the better off we’ll all be.”

New Wave is a female-led start-up program that aims to address the under-representation of women in entrepreneurship by empowering female UNSW students, staff, and alumni with the skills, knowledge, and networks to launch start-ups that will tackle real-world problems.

Since its launch in 2016, it has helped almost 400 women and 150 start-ups to date and aims to help at least another 500 by 2025. UNSW’s own portfolio of company investments boasted a 41 per cent female participation rate, well above the industry average of 29.4 per cent.