Support for women in business

Women in business can access tailored support including programs, grants, events, mentoring and education by:

Free mentors to support your business growth

As you grow your business it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Your business may be progressing into new territory or you may be dealing with issues that you haven't experienced before.

Find out how our free Mentoring for Growth program can help with business challenges.

Learn how you can become a volunteer mentor to support women in business.

Claim Your Confidence

You can enrol in the Claim Your Confidence online course, created by Irene D. Baker with the support of Queensland Government. This course looks at some of the issues that may hold women back from business success.

Enrol in the Claim Your Confidence program.

Learn more about the Claim Your Confidence program.

Support for Female Founders

The Female Founders program is designed to assist female founders at different stages of the entrepreneurial life cycle.

The program focuses on increasing the participation rates and business skills of female founders in Queensland along with providing support to those who are in the growth phase and need assistance to take their business to the next level.

Applications are currently open for the following programs.

Female Founders Impact Program

The Female Founders Impact Program delivers capability development activities with a focus on confidence, education and skills development. Programs include:

  • Personalised pathways – a 1–hour consultation to guide you through the available small business support
  • Mentor match – apply to be matched to a mentoring expert for one-on-one support
  • Learning links – read about Queensland female founders, community news and more
  • events and webinars – learn about and register for upcoming events and webinars.

To apply for a program or for more information, visit Impact Innovation.

Female Founders Advisory Board Program

The Female Founders Advisory Board Program is focused on increasing participation rates and business skills of female founders in Queensland. Programs include:

  • Essentials program – group sessions designed for female business owners with high growth aspirations who need assistance with improving confidence, skills and identifying available support
  • Starter program – designed to establish best practice governance, business diagnostics and foundations of a structure to support female founder growth plans.

To apply for a program or for more information, visit the Advisory Board Centre.

Industry partnerships

In 2020, the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training worked with industry partners to deliver a range of projects and events to help women succeed in business across a range of industries.

Current projects are listed below.

The Entrepreneurs and Small Business Indigenous Corporation (ESBIC), based in Cairns, is working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from Cairns, Kuranda, Atherton, Tablelands, Mareeba, Cape York and Torres Strait Islands.

Participants selected for the program will receive small business support focused on practical business skills and processes. Artists will establish the vital infrastructure for operating an online business that offers a range of products showcasing their unique and beautiful works.

For more information, contact ESBIC.

The Future is Female Tour will run over 7 days in Queensland's Darling Downs region and aims to reach 1,000 young women.

Fiftysix Creations will support an all-female classroom coach team to visit communities in Toowoomba, Dalby, Chinchilla, Roma, Goondiwindi, Miles and St George. The tour will include school workshops with girls, afternoon workshops with young women and evening events for budding entrepreneurs, taking place at the end of Term 3, 2020.

For more information, visit Fiftysix Creations.

The Institute for Resilient Regions from the University of Southern Queensland will deliver a series of online small business programs to enable participants to proactively lead their small business through challenging times while starting and growing their venture.

The program supports women in rural, regional and remote Queensland to move past self-doubt, build resilience and realise their entrepreneurial and business aspirations. It is designed for women who have tremendous talent and ideas but experience isolation, lack of support or a need for skills development to steer their businesses, careers and lives through crisis. The evidence-based programs deliver interactive workshops addressing mindset, barriers faced by rural and remote women, collaboration, development of virtual communities, mentorship, coaching and building core capabilities.

Whether you need to re-vamp your business model to cope with crisis or accelerate an idea to support your community during this challenging time, register now at WiRE Program or email

ATech supports businesses of all sizes with world class digital services and capabilities, ATech will deliver 5 Sunshine Women's Club events across Cairns, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane, as well as an online educational program to support businesses through crisis and uncertainty.

Participants will benefit from insight, capability building and practical tools for leadership, confidence, negotiation and achieving results. Mentoring participants will be supported to guide their business through crisis, fostering focus, belief, education and dedication.

Events are currently scheduled for August 2020, however may be rescheduled in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions. For more information, contact ATech.

Deception Bay Community and Youth Programs is a community organisation who has been delivering the Pathways to Work program, assisting long-term unemployed jobseekers for many years. Adding to their suite of community support projects, the Explore Enterprise program offers a pathway into self-employment for women keen to explore small business. In times of crisis, women often lead the way, offering small business solutions that help the community adapt.

Explore Enterprise will provide participants with a tailored program focused on skills development, strategic planning, coaching and practical support. Women will develop the skills, experience, confidence, knowledge, qualifications and personal qualities required to make an informed choice about self-employment.

The program is currently being rescheduled due to COVID-19 restrictions. For more information, visit Deception Bay Community and Youth Programs.

The National Retail Association provides support and information representing the interests of retailers and fast food businesses across Queensland. The People Leadership Program will be delivered to help women in retail get the best from their teams. Women-led small business managers will be equipped with skills, capability and knowledge to start, grow and sustain successful businesses, particularly through times of change and crisis.

For more information, visit National Retail Association.

Wandering Cooks is Australia's largest artisan food and drink incubator. Based in Brisbane, they offer 5 shared commercial kitchen spaces to start-up food businesses, along with guidance and networks to help new businesses gain economic and operational self-sufficiency. A series of workshop programs focused on key viability issues in food businesses will support women to adapt their approach in challenging times and help their business survive and thrive.

The Ingredient Challenge workshops upskill participants in using local, seasonal and small farm ingredients in menus and artisan products, helping to support local food economies.

The Inside Out workshops conducted in collaboration with the Food and Agribusiness Network cover practical operational, financial, marketing, leadership and management challenges for small food businesses.

The 12 Week Hospitality Incubation Program will further support participants who demonstrate excellence throughout the educational series.

The workshops and programs are currently being rescheduled due to COVID-19 restrictions. For more information, visit Wandering Cooks.

Engage and Create Consulting will deliver the Regional Women Activators project, focusing on strengthening connection and resilience to help women in business cope with crisis and change.

Women in rural and remote areas will be engaged through a series of virtual events. Presenters will focus on building skills and capabilities, coping with change, adaption to difficult circumstances, business survival and resilience. Through collaboration with co-working spaces, the project will also examine the impact of COVID-19 on co-working spaces across regions and support new ways for women to connect given physical distancing restrictions.

For more information, visit Engage and Create Consulting.

QMusic will partner with regional local government areas including the Regional Arts Services Network (RASN) to deliver the Women in Music Mentoring Program.

Industry leaders across the music sector will mentor early- and mid-career professionals over the coming few weeks, preparing these music entrepreneurs to put on a series of live music events across regional Queensland, for when recovery begins and venues can reopen following the current COVID-19 shutdowns.

As part of the program, participants will work side-by-side with managers, agents, tour managers, sound engineers and venues across the state to deliver the project. Participants will learn on the job as they plan the project, develop budgets, book venues, work with artists and promote and manage events.

For more information, visit QMusic.

On 17 March 2020, it was announced that WOW Australia 2020 (planned for 2–5 April 2020) would not proceed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However event producers Cathy Hunt and Leigh Tabrett have led the way in a pivot to new ways of working. Although the physical gathering has been cancelled, the conversations, the connections, the actions and above all, the movement towards gender equality continues.

The WOW Australia Digital Portal, The Well, has now been launched. Join stakeholders online to explore the work in progress with new content added regularly. Help explore the future of women in business and the economy, locally and globally.

WOW Australia 2020 organisers ask that you draw from The Well as you need and drink deeply, as we gather in this virtual space to continue the conversations that still need to be had.

BTL Gems is working with the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC), the peak industry body for tourism in Queensland and the Ethical Change Agency to deliver a series of of podcasts featuring industry experts and key industry identities. The community will be invited to explore what recovery might look like for the tourism industry in Queensland as we respond to COVID-19. Industry leaders will provide insight and analysis as well as access to tools and resources online.

Key themes will focus on responding to crisis and change, the future of tourism in Queensland, resilience and adaptation. Selected businesses will be provided with mentoring and support through free access to the BLT Gems online training course to be launched in 2020.

For more information, visit BTL Gems.

Workshops and events

Regularly check the Business Queensland events calendar for current events, forums, workshops and seminars.

Contact us

For more information, email

Also consider...