Skip to main content Skip to main navigation
Skip to access and inclusion page Skip to search input

Our Commitment 

In March 2023, Westpac Business Lending announced new measures to help small businesses to get started or to grow with business loans for businesses looking to start-up or scale-up.

These measures also help support Westpac's $500 million commitment to back more women in business and comes as research from the bank reveals accessing finance is one of many challenges faced by female business owners1

Our research shows 51 per cent of women plan to apply for finance to support short to medium business growth, yet more women find it harder to access finance compared with men (29% women to 21% men)1.

A 2022 report by Deloitte Access Economics found that 22 per cent of Australian start-ups are founded by women, however only 0.7 per cent of private sector funding was received by solely women founders. 82 per cent of women founders believed gender impacted their ability to raise venture capital funding2.

This pool of funding available is a tangible initiative supporting our 2030 Sustainability Strategy focused on enhancing financial inclusion and equality. 

Stay tuned for some of the ways that Westpac is advocating for financial inclusion and demonstrating our support to removing barriers, including for women.

Westpac is investing in startups with UNSW Founders 

We’re excited to announce our sponsorship with UNSW Founders in 2024

UNSW Founders is a leading on campus entrepreneurship program, providing end-to-end support to individuals wanting to start and scale their businesses.

The sponsorship provides concrete financial support for promising founders through dedicated pitch prizes and scholarships.

New Wave Pitch Prizes

Westpac is proud to provide $15,000 in sponsorship for the first prizes in UNSW Founder's biannual New Wave program pitch event. New Wave is the UNSW Founders program for women with a startup idea or seeking to improve their entrepreneurial skills. 

Pitch prizes can elevate an early-stage business and provide much-needed credibility and early funding to pursue an idea.

  • The program is open to women who are UNSW students, alumni & staff. 

Applications for 2024 Cohort A open on 4 March and close 1 May, learn more or find out how to apply

Westpac Accelerator Scholarships

Westpac is proud to fund three equity scholarships valued at $20,000 each to offer financial support to women and non-binary founders who are successful in joining UNSW Founders 10x Accelerator programs with their high-potential startup. 

The Westpac Accelerator Scholarships are designed to address barriers that women founders may experience when pursuing their startup full time, including those who may struggle to balance family and work commitments and access capital for business growth. It can also help cover their cost of travel or supplement income when undertaking the 10-week Accelerator program.

10x Accelerators help founders of tech startups and research ventures grow and become investment and impact-ready. The Accelerator streams include Health, Biotech, Defence, Climate, and All Industries. Selected startups receive seed funding and 10 weeks of accelerated learning from experts and mentors. Their support comes from founders with direct industry experience, weekly workshops and connections.

The Westpac Accelerator Scholarships are open to 10x Accelerator participants who are women and non-binary founders.  

10x Accelerator Eligibility: 

  • All industries program is open to companies with at least one UNSW alumni, staff or student founder.

  • Health 10x, Biotech 10x, Defence 10x and Climate 10x are open nationally with no UNSW affiliation required.

Applications for 10x Accelerator & the Westpac Accelerator Scholarship open 12 April and close 12 May, learn more or register your interest.

More from Westpac 

Business loans for Startups

Is it time to turn your side hustle into a real business? Or branch out on your own? A business loan for startups could help get your dreams off the ground.

Our Sustainability strategy

Our commitment to building a sustainable future by taking action in the areas where we can have the greatest impact.

Get involved

Stay tuned for updates on our 2024 initiatives.

Things you should know

1. Research conducted by Lonergan Research in October 2023. It was an online survey conducted among a representative sample of over 500 Australian SME Business Leaders.

2. Deloitte Access Economics, Accelerating women founders: The untapped investment opportunity