A year to the day after its launch, Jo Burston’s Inspiring Rare Birds movement has taken another step towards achieving its goal of creating 1 million women entrepreneurs by 2020, celebrating Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) with the launch of a new book, #IFSHECANICAN.
The book, the second from Rare Birds, hopes to inspire young girls to become entrepreneurs by giving them role models to look up to. #IFSHECANICAN documents the entrepreneurial journeys of 29 young Australian women who are driving innovation and pushing boundaries across various industries, featuring stories from founders including OneShift’s Gen George, Canva’s Melanie Perkins, Jane Lu of Showpo, and Rosie and Lucy Thomas of Project Rockit, taking in all the highs and all the lows they’ve faced on the road so far.
Burston said the book aims to provide aspiring entrepreneurs with a trusted resource of real life experiences to draw from.
“As an entrepreneur myself, I often used to think how helpful it would be to get advice from someone who knows about business, someone who has been there and done it. The problem was that I lacked access to these people,” she said.
“With Australia driving its own innovation and collaboration agendas, it is important that we support our budding entrepreneurs at every stage of their business journey, while celebrating their successes and sharing their learnings.”
Burston has also been named as the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day ambassador for Oceania, saying that collaborating with an organisation of WED’s scope will help Rare Birds achieve its goal of one million women entrepreneurs by 2020.
Inspiring Rare Birds has gone from strength to strength since its launch last year. A business-driven organisation with financial goals of its own, it has always intended to do more than simply cheer women on from the sidelines. Though storytelling is one of the most important aspects – or pillars – of the movement, Rare Birds also focuses on helping women entrepreneurs find investment and mentors.
The organisation recently partnered with Virgin Unite to launch a new online mentoring platform that uses an algorithm to match entrepreneurs with the right mentors. This mentorship program, which costs $5000 a year, is self managed, allowing the entrepreneur to work at their own pace.
Rare Birds also features an online ‘deal room’ which aims to help entrepreneurs become ‘investable’, or investor-ready, through an eight step process. After going through this process, Rare Birds facilitates introductions to funding partners such as angel investors, private investors and VCs.
The stats around women in tech still aren’t great, but movements like Rare Birds are key in helping turn the tide, and successful female entrepreneurs around the world are following suit. Canadian VC Vicki Saunders launched ‘An Act of Radical Generosity’ this year through SheEO, asking 1000 women around Canada to donate $1000 to female entrepreneurs; she hopes to launch the program around the world next year.