The Startmate Women Fellowship is a program and community for ambitious women looking to supercharge their career in startups.

If you are curious about working in a startup, founding your own startup, or investing in startups, the Women Fellowship is for you!

In this eight week community-driven program, you will gain the tools, connections and confidence to hit the ground running in the startup ecosystem. You’ll join a community of talented and inspiring women, and will gain backstage access to some of the most exciting startups in Australia and New Zealand. 

In addition to weekly sessions and events, you will also receive personalised support from top startup/vc operators, founders, investors and leaders, who will help you navigate the startup world with confidence. 

If you’re ready to level up your career, do something you’re passionate about, and make a difference in the world, we’re here to help you get started.

The Spring23 cohort is currently live.

Register interest for our next cohort below.

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Continuous Learning

“Startups are super interesting. The teams are small and the velocity is high. … You learn enough to fix the problem, build a solution and move on to the next problem. This results in exposure to a lot of technologies and approaches, and a lot of personal growth.”
— Eddie Atkinson, Student Fellow (Summer 2020/21)


Technical to non-technical

“By the third day of my internship, I was already pitching to the Queensland Small Business Commission.”
— Tsamara, Student Fellow (Summer 2020/21)


Solo founder to founding team

“The great thing about hiring through Startmate is the people who join through one of the Fellowship programs are already pre-selected for being amazing. They are looking for change and roles where they can have a big impact, and everything that working for a startup can provide.”
— Gridcognition (Startmate, Mel20 Alumni)


Solo founder to founding team

“Why does the UK have such a financial services driven economy? Basically … ask the smartest undergraduates ‘what are you going to do next?’, they're all like, ‘oh, I'm going to go work at Goldman Sachs’ or whatever. … The reason Silicon Valley is so special? It is the one place in the world where [ambitious students] say ‘we’ll start a company’.”
— Matt Clifford, Founder at Entrepreneur First.

The why

Our mission is to tangibly increase gender parity in the ANZ startup ecosystem by actively creating opportunities for women and non-binary people from diverse backgrounds and experiences to enter the startup world.

The startup/vc sector is taking off, but unfortunately there is an underrepresentation of women in this space. 

With so much opportunity ahead, we need all the most brilliant minds to solve the world’s most complex challenges. This especially includes women, non-binary people, and those from other underrepresented backgrounds. 

This is what we’re aiming to fix. By running the Women Fellowship, we aim to supercharge the startup ecosystem with incredibly ambitious and talented people who might otherwise get missed.

The who

We’re looking for smart and daring women and non-binary people who want to solve tough problems, have a real impact, and do the best work of their lives. If you’re curious about joining a startup, founding a startup, or investing in startups, this is the program for you.

The Startmate Women Fellowship is for the hungry, not the proven. Whether you’re a corporate worker, designer, shift manager or a mum returning to work - we embrace women from all industries and backgrounds. 

Each cohort is made up of around 100 supportive and inspiring women.

To be eligible for this program, you must:

  • Identify as a woman / non-binary person
  • Intend to work in Australia or New Zealand in the near future (i.e. within the next 6-12 months)

If you're a hungry and ambitious student, we encourage you to check out the Student Fellowship here. Because students now have their very own program, this will be the more appropriate pathway for you. 

If you’re already a founder and your main objective is to launch your startup, we encourage you to check out Launch Club here. 

Program dates

The program runs virtually twice a year - Autumn and Spring.

- Spring23 cohort: September 4 - October 27 (with a one week break from Sept 25 - 29)

- Autumn24 cohort: dates TBD

- Spring24 cohort: dates TBD

Time commitment

It will be an intense learning and networking experience. To make the most out of the program, we recommend setting aside 3-5 hours per week to fully engage with the content and community. You’ll get out what you put in!

There are typically 3 hours of live content per week. Most of these live sessions will happen outside business hours. Sessions will be recorded and available after the program ends, but you will get the most out of the program if you can attend the live sessions.

In general, the program follows a set operating cadence. Live sessions will typically run:

  • Monday, 5:30-6:30pm (AEST) - Kickstart Your Week session
  • Tuesday, 12:00-1:00pm (AEST) - Lunch & Learn session
  • Thursday, 5:30pm-6:30pm (AEST) - Feature Session / Event
  • Friday - Bonus Content & Resources

In addition to the content sessions, there will also be monthly in-person drinks and fortnightly catch-ups with your Squad and Coach.

Depending on your own bandwidth and personal objectives, you can then scale up from there - dive into bonus resources, connect with other Fellows & Coaches, build your network, etc. 

Most of our Women Fellows complete the Fellowship alongside full time work, parenting, other personal commitments, etc. There is no expectation that you will quit your job to join the program. However, we encourage you to be realistic about your bandwidth.

Program overview

To determine if the program is right for you, please check out the key objectives outlined in the program overview.

Week 0: Set up for success

 You’ll leave this week with some exciting new connections and the basics in place to hit the ground running.

This week is all about setting you up for success. Take this time to tick through your onboarding checklist and begin connecting with other Fellows & members of the community. 

Week 1: Welcome to the Fellowship (and Community For Life!)

 You’ll leave this week ready to make the most out of the Fellowship and the Startmate community.

We’ll kick off the program by walking through some essentials to help you thrive in the program. We’ll also help you understand how to grow and leverage your network the right way.

Week 2: Find your fit in the startup ecosystem

 You’ll leave this week with inspiration and greater clarity around taking your next steps.

In the Women Fellowship, we challenge you to ask for more from your personal and professional lives. We’ll kick off Week 2 by unpacking what’s really important to you, and how a career in startups might align with your individual values and objectives. We’ll also connect you with some super cool startups to help you get excited about some of the world-changing problems being tackled in the ecosystem. 

Week 3: Tackle imposter syndrome and leverage your social capital

 You’ll leave this week with the tools and confidence to build your social capital and tackle imposter syndrome.

We recognise that networking and self-promoting is often easier said than done, so this week is all about building confidence and tackling imposter syndrome to help you feel comfortable building your social capital and going after the career you deserve.

Week 4: Async / Social Week

 There will be no programmed content this week. Take this time to catch-up on any recordings you may have missed, check out some bonus resources, make some more connections, or simply disconnect and recharge for the second half of the program.

We WILL be holding 'Startmate Community drinks' on Thursday to help you put those networking skills into practice and continue to connect with other Fellows and Community members.

Week 5: Explore working for a startup & landing your dream job

 You’ll leave this week with a more specific idea of what role would best suit you and how to go about locking it in.  

One pathway into the startup ecosystem is to join a startup as an operator. We’ll kick off the second half of the program by diving into how to find (and land!) that dream role. We’ll also help you explore some different startup roles and functions to see what might interest you most.

Week 6: Explore what it takes to found a startup 

 You’ll leave this week with greater clarity around what it’s really like to found a world-changing startup.

Our mission to ‘make Australia and New Zealand the best place in the world to build a startup’ is at the core of what we do, so we want to help the next generation of ANZ’s most ambitious founders create companies that will truly change our future.

Whether you already have a startup idea, you have founder ambitions but don’t know where to start, or you’re simply interested in learning more, we’re here to help you dive in.

Week 7: Explore investing in startups & pathways into venture capital

 You’ll leave this week with a better understanding of possible pathways for investing in startups.

Another pathway into startups is by backing the next generation of entrepreneurial talent. Investors are critical players in supercharging the startup ecosystem. In the last week of the program, we’ll go into exactly how you can learn to be a great investor (including many misconceptions that may be holding you back!).

Week 8: Let’s get hands on!

 You’ll leave this week with the confidence to put your learnings to action as well as next steps post-program.

We want to build on all you’ve learned throughout the Fellowship by putting it into practice. This week is all about hands-on workshops and sessions to cement your learnings.

Finally, we’ll wrap up the Fellowship with a bittersweet wrap-up session, which will walk you through the next steps (including how to stay involved in this Community For Life!).

Application and selection process

The application consists of 5-short answer questions. Selection is highly competitive, and we'll be assessing applicants on their ambition, motivation and passion for joining our community, as well as their grit and resilience.

While this is a written application, we want the process to be accessible for all. If you'd prefer an alternative format for applying, please get in touch.


The Women Fellowship program fee is $3,000 (incl. GST).

(the fee will only be invoiced after program acceptance)

We recognise intersectional disadvantages, and we appreciate that some women are also impacted by additional discrimination (based on age, disability, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, financial hardship, etc).

While we can’t dismantle these systems on our own, we offer full and half scholarships for those who find the program cost prohibitive. You can read more about our scholarships here.

Please note that additional eligibility will also be assessed! If you are holding back due to program cost, we encourage you apply for a scholarship!

Proudly supported by Tattarang and NZGCP

Tattarang is the private investment group owned by Andrew and Nicola Forrest. Tattarang invests across a wide variety of sectors and asset classes, including in real assets, public and private markets. They are a values-based team that believes in using  capital as a force for good with an investment focus on generational businesses that create value.

NZGCP is a New Zealand Crown entity that provides investment support for Kiwis building world-class technology companies. They also back programmes like Women Fellowship to help encourage capability-building for both founders and investors.

Frequently Asked Questions
Is the program in-person or virtual?

The program is mostly virtual. All of the content is delivered in a virtual format (and will be recorded if you can’t attend live). However, we will also be hosting a few in-person events in the major capital cities as we find this helps facilitate stronger connections.

I don’t know if the program is right for me

The best way to gauge if the program is right for you is to check out the Program Overview outlined above and have a look at what will be covered. If you believe that content might be beneficial to you, I would absolutely encourage you to apply.

It’s also worth noting that the session content is only one part of the program. The other main component of the Fellowship is the community.

You will be joining a cohort of other ambitious and inspiring women who are here to support you on your journey. 
You will also be joining the ‘Startmate Community’, which is a powerful network of some of the best startup operators, founders, and investors in Australia and New Zealand.

If you think you would benefit from being a part of this community, I would also encourage you to apply.

Am I still eligible for the Fellowship if I already have startup experience?

Ultimately, we would not prohibit you from joining the program because of your existing experience in a startup. We've had people join the Fellowship with startup experience in the past (and get a lot of value out of it!).

Whether or not the program will be beneficial to you depends on what you hope to get out of the Fellowship. To see how the program aligns with your objectives, we'd recommend checking out the Program Overview above. 

Apply for the Startmate Women Fellowship

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