News & Analysis

Rare Birds launches international Ambassador Program to connect women entrepreneurs around the world

- March 8, 2016 3 MIN READ

Rare Birds has launched an international Ambassador Program to assist women entrepreneurs around the world on their journey from early stage startups to global businesses.

Launching with seven women and eight men on board, the program aims to connect women from all over the world, including those who are based in regional and remote communities, to one another with an aim of spreading the Rare Birds message of diversity and inclusivity further.

“This is a particularly proud moment for us, diversity is alive and embraced by our entire community. The support of so many male ambassadors, even at this early stage, is testament to that,” said Jo Burston, founder of Rare Birds.

With today being International Women’s Day, it’s great to see a level of diversity that encompasses women in not only city regions but also rural communities throughout Australia and the world.

“We know that grassroots community management and growth from an entrepreneur’s perspective is really important. There are lots of places for startups and entrepreneurs to flourish in big cities, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, but what about the women in regional and rural Australia, what about connecting women all over the world so they can help each other and share experiences?” asked Burston.

Rare Birds hopes to  appoint 100 international ambassadors by June 2017, reaching 81 regions globally to become the world’s leading destination for women entrepreneurs.

Burston began working on the concept of having global ambassadors working with Rare Birds to deliver a more inclusive and global community of entrepreneurs last year. She said that today the vision has come to fruition and she believes Rare Bird ambassadors will play a pivotal role in supporting entrepreneurs, particularly those who come from remote, regional or local communities.

In each of the global regions Rare Birds aims to penetrate the community by co-hosting events, and providing mentoring and access to funding, emulating the same ideas of Rare Birds in Australia in overseas communities.

“Women who are looking to access capital will be encouraged to do that through the localised ambassador and the region that they’re in. If they’re looking for education we will be rolling out our global education program in a few months time,” said Burston.

People who wish to become ambassadors for the program must be entrepreneurs, thought leaders, play an active role in their community and have a passion for economic and social impact via entrepreneurship.

“From day one, I have said we are not a women’s organisation, we are a global movement which supports women entrepreneurs. That support comes from all genders, cultures, nationalities and politics. It’s wonderful to be able to announce the launch of the Ambassador Program today, International Women’s Day, particularly as this year’s theme is ‘parity’. Progress towards gender parity won’t just impact women, it will have significant impact on the global economy,” Burston said.

Jan Owen, CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians, is one of the first Rare Birds ambassadors. Owen acknowledged the impact the next generations of young Australians will have on innovation and said a genuine diversity of talent and ideas is needed to rethink and shape the future.

“The next significant wave of entrepreneurs globally will be women with the education, drive and passion to shape the innovation economy. Having watched the phenomenal rise and growth of Rare Birds in just over a year, it is clear this unstoppable movement is going to contribute to growing women entrepreneurs everywhere,” sayid Owen.

Burston added that there are enormous benefits that can be reaped by local economies when entrepreneurs start and continue their businesses from their home towns.

“Likewise, the decision to include global entrepreneurial identities arose from our commitment to always be thinking big and flying high. There’s no reason why someone starting a business in Uluru, Hawaii, or Vietnam shouldn’t have the same opportunity to access funding, mentoring and education. We believe passionately in making that happen,” she said.

“In our ambassadors we have migrants, men, women, people from the indigenous community and all backgrounds and all diversities around the world. We are definitely celebrating women but we are also celebrating the support that comes from diversity.”

Image: Jo Burston. Source: Supplied