Celebrating Western Australia’s women in innovation on International Women’s Day 2022

The McGowan Labor Government celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD) today by recognising Western Australia’s trailblazing business women.

The theme for this year’s IWD 2022 is Break The Bias, as people around the world celebrate the achievements of women, raise awareness of gender bias and take action for equality.

Australia is home to 355,000 registered start-up businesses. However, businesses founded by women often find it more difficult to win backing by the investor community, compared to those founded by men.

Despite these figures, Western Australia is home to some of the country’s most pioneering women in innovation.

Melanie Perkins started Canva in WA and with her previous company (Fusion Books) was named a finalist in the 2008 WA Innovator of the Year program.

Canva has revolutionised graphic design, making it accessible and user-friendly, which has led to it becoming the global leader in this space. Perkins’ Sydney-based business is worth, at last valuation, $55 billion. It is now the fifth most valuable private company in the world.

Another successful WA entrepreneur and WA Innovator of the Year Award recipient, Olivia Humphrey, founded the educational streaming service Kanopy which has seen millions of university students worldwide utilising the service.

In 2021, Ms Humphrey was appointed as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Curtin University to work directly with WA’s next generation of young entrepreneurs.

The McGowan Government continues to support women in business, providing advice, support and mentorship through a range of initiatives, including the New Industries Fund (NIF).

Providing funding to developing businesses, the NIF is a $16.7 million, four-year commitment to accelerate growth of emerging WA businesses.

NIF recipients include researcher Professor Sue Fletcher AO, who won the 2021 WA Overall Innovator of the Year award for her work in the treatment of inherited retinal diseases.

Last month, Innovation and ICT Minister Stephen Dawson announced this year’s recipients of the X-TEND WA grant, a NIF program to support the development of entrepreneurial and investor ecosystem.

Two of the recipients aim to address the gender-funding gap:

  • SheCodes seeks to educate women in coding and developing technology, in order to strengthen their entrepreneurial skillset.
  • VentureX HQ was recently founded by five experienced female business leaders with extensive skills in commercialisation and venture capital. The group’s aim is to assist female founders to scale their businesses and access capital.

More information about International Women’s Day in Western Australia, including events and fact sheets, can be found at http://www.communities.wa.gov.au/IWD