Australia’s dedicated festival for international students expands with $500K funding boost
Tuesday 06 April 2021
State Library Victoria’s StartSpace has once again teamed up with Study Melbourne to launch an expanded, year-long Future Founders program for international students thanks to a $500,000 investment from the Victorian Government.
The program is one of the largest of its kind in Australia and forms part of the Victorian Government’s $33.4 million International Education Short-Term Recovery Plan.
International students will be able to engage with the program in a number of ways and learn from some of the world’s leading business entrepreneurs on how to develop their business ideas in a changed workforce. They will also build networks in the Victorian business community and connect with other international and Australian students.
Program highlights include community roadshows, immersive bootcamps, festival programming, a hackathon, and Australia’s first incubator with generous venture scholarships available for up to eight international student start-up teams.
Acting Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Jaala Pulford said the Future Founders program will play a critical role in supporting the recovery of the international student sector in Victoria, which has been hit hard by COVID-19.
“The pandemic has had an enormous impact on international students and the sector, and programs such as this enhance the experience of international students and Victoria’s offering as an innovative, safe and welcoming study destination.
“There are around 110,000 international students currently studying in Victoria, along with thousands more enrolled online from overseas. The Future Founders program will give these students the support, skills and networks they need for employment or starting their own business,” said Minister Pulford.
State Library Victoria CEO, Kate Torney said the Library’s StartSpace is proud to be part of a program that will help boost Victoria’s knowledge economy.
“International students have always formed a vibrant part of our community, yet they have faced many barriers that others haven’t during the pandemic. The Future Founders program will give these students the skills and confidence they need to bring their business ideas to life.
“StartSpace, like Study Melbourne, was founded on the pillars of inclusion, learning and knowledge, which is why we’re so excited to be joining forces again to deliver a program dedicated to nurturing entrepreneurial minds,” Ms Torney said.
Global Victoria CEO, Gonul Serbest said the program strengthens Victoria’s position as an innovative and inclusive study destination.
“Victorian education is highly regarded internationally, and the Future Founders Program further enhances our offering. The opportunity for students to bolster their career readiness, develop their cultural competencies, and build entrepreneurial skills alongside their studies is invaluable.
“As well as on-the-ground activities, the program will also engage international students offshore through our innovative and exciting new Study Melbourne Hubs,” said Ms Serbest.
Future Founders program details:
Community roadshows: Taking place across regional Victoria and online, the roadshows enable a broader audience to access talks and workshops with industry experts. The two-hour sessions will be delivered between 10 – 27 May at universities in Melbourne and regionally.
Immersive bootcamps: Run over two weeks, the bootcamps are an intensive learning ‘hothouse’ with a focus on reflective learning that will pressure-test participants and teach skills quickly. This immersive program is for students who are ready to commit!
Future Founders Festival: The four-day festival in July includes onsite and online programming as well as a 48-hour Hackathon that aims to introduce students to entrepreneurship and the startup ecosystem. Attendees will hear from startup founders and industry experts.
Venture scholarships: Australia’s first international student initiative that provides incubator funding for entrepreneurship ventures. Eight ventures will receive $10,000 in scholarship funding and each recipient will get a six-week StartSpace membership, which includes exclusive one-on-one coaching and mentoring opportunities.