Supporting women in STEM and entrepreneurship

Businesses, not-for-profits, education and research organisations are encouraged to apply for grants to inspire more girls and women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) and entrepreneurship.

Acting Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, today announced the second round of the Australian Government’s $8 million Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) grants program.

“It is vital that all Australians are equipped with the skills they need for the jobs of the future but in particular, we need to get more girls and women engaged with STEM in schools, universities, TAFEs and in the workforce,” Minister Cash said.

“The WISE program supports activities to get girls and women interested and involved in STEM education and careers. This includes helping them develop entrepreneurial skills and professional networks, paving the way for more Australian women to start their own businesses and become entrepreneurs.”

The first round of WISE grants, announced in December 2016, saw approximately $4 million awarded to a diverse range of projects including coding workshops for teachers and primary school girls, networking and mentoring for female entrepreneurs in rural and remote Queensland, drone flying and programming camps in Northern Australia, and a new ‘Superstars of STEM’ initiative to raise the profile of Australia’s women in science, technology and engineering.

Minister Cash said eliminating barriers for women’s participation in STEM education and careers was a key aspect of the WISE program.

“As a Government we understand the importance of ensuring our young women have female role models in science and research, entrepreneurship and corporate leadership to look to for inspiration.”

Minister Cash also announced today that the Australian Mathematics Trust would receive $75,000 over 2017­18 to 2019–20 to recruit and send a team of four Australian students to the European Girls Mathematical Olympiad in each of the next three years.

“For the first time, Australia’s best and brightest female high school mathematics students will compete at this prestigious international event,” the Minister said.

“This will open up new opportunities for Australian girls to compete in elite international mathematical competitions and inspire more students to strive for mathematical excellence.”

Tim Reed, CEO of MYOB who have 1.2 million small business customers, believes the initiative to encourage more women to pursue careers in STEM and entrepreneurship is crucial to the nation’s prosperity.

“Australian businesses will fail to reach their full potential unless we create diverse and inclusive workplaces. As a tech business, building diverse and inclusive teams is a competitive advantage for us, but we know that women make up less than a third of university graduates in STEM. MYOB is paying particular attention to some of the inherent challenges in our education, training and organisational structures which limit opportunities for women and hold all of us back from achieving our potential,” Reed said.

“In part, we’ve sought to address this by finding alternate methods for recruitment within our business, creating the “DevelopHER” initiative, a 360–hour paid internship program designed to re-skill women who are seeking to re-enter the workforce as software developers. We believe that the wide array of perspectives that result from diversity promotes innovation and business success, and we need to ensure there is good female representation in technology jobs of the future.”

Applications for round two of the WISE program close on 15 November 2017, and the successful projects will be announced in early 2018. The Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship program is part of the “Inspiring all Australians in Digital Literacy and STEM” component of the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

To apply or for more information, go to

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