This International Women’s Day, we’re sharing some of our most inspiring stories of trailblazing women. These remarkable individuals are breaking barriers, overcoming challenges, and creating opportunities that are not only transforming their industries but also paving the way for the next generation of female leaders.

Life science researcher and investor Dr Anne-Laure Puaux (VC Catalyst, 2023)

Despite hurdles such as high development costs and limited investor awareness, Dr Anne-Laure Puaux’s work with Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research Ventures aims to bridge these gaps. By focusing on empowering female entrepreneurs, upskilling researchers in entrepreneurship, and attracting global talent, Puaux is building a future where Australian innovation in life sciences thrives, creating a more inclusive and impactful ecosystem for all.

This International Women’s Day, Puaux’s story reminds us of the importance of supporting women in STEM and entrepreneurship, and the potential for transformative change when barriers are overcome. Read the full article

Laura Youngson is changing the game for women in sport (Master of Entrepreneurship, 2017)

Alumna Laura Youngson is kicking serious goals for women and girls in sport. As the co-founder of Equal Playing Field, a global movement to promote gender equality in sport, Laura made headlines and set two Guinness World Records for organising the world’s lowest-altitude and highest-altitude football matches. During her time studying the Master of Entrepreneurship at the Wade Institute, Laura co-founded another startup, Ida Sports, which develops affordable soccer boots designed for women.

Advocacy doesn’t end on the soccer pitch for Laura. With her sharp business acumen and unstinting commitment to gender equality, she’s forging a meaningful change for women’s sport around the world. Read the full article

CSIRO research scientist and founder Karolina Petkovic (Master of Entrepreneurship, 2020)

Revolutionising iron deficiency testing, Karolina Petkovic’s entrepreneurial journey exemplifies the innovation and impact of women in science and entrepreneurship. Drawing on her background as a research scientist at CSIRO, Karolina is translating her scientific expertise into a commercially viable product that empowers individuals, particularly women, to manage their iron levels proactively.

Karolina’s story underscores the importance of combining scientific knowledge with entrepreneurial skills, a blend she honed while studying the University of Melbourne’s Master of Entrepreneurship. Karolina’s journey highlights the transformative potential of women-led innovation in healthcare, showcasing the power of determination, innovation, and leadership in driving meaningful change. Read the full article

Teachers of the Year Karyn Murray and Liesl Woods (UpSchool, 2020)

At Strathcona Girls Grammar, Karyn Murray and Liesl Woods have turned challenges into opportunities, transforming their entrepreneurship program through our teacher entrepreneurship program UpSchool. They revamped their curriculum, incorporating Melbourne’s entrepreneurial spirit and engaging the community for mentorship.

Their story embodies the resilience and adaptability celebrated on International Women’s Day, showcasing how educators empower young women to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Karyn and Liesl’s dedication to nurturing entrepreneurship and 21st-century skills highlights the importance of innovative education models that prepare students, especially young women, for future success. Read the full article

Jodie Imam 2018 Wade mentoring

Founder-turned-investor Jodie Imam (VC Catalyst, 2021)

Jodie’s journey from founder to investor is a testament to overcoming imposter syndrome and embracing new challenges. Through VC Catalyst, she found a supportive environment that helped her shape her investment thesis around “building independent girls and women.” Her focus on investing in startups that empower women and girls to achieve financial independence reflects her personal passions, demonstrating a deep commitment to making a difference.

Tractor Venture’s unique model of Revenue Based Financing (RBF) aligns with Jodie’s values of supporting bootstrapped founders and ensuring flexibility and control for entrepreneurs. With a commitment to ensuring at least 50% of their portfolio consists of female-led companies, Jodie is not only investing in profitable founders but also in a future where women are empowered to succeed in the startup ecosystem. Read the full article