Announcing the Future Founders Festival 2021

Migrant Entrepreneurs mentor International Student Startups at Future Founders Festival

StartSpace and State Library Victoria has announced that Australia’s first festival for international student startups, innovators and founders will take place for the second year running from 15-16 July 2021, thanks StartSpace and Study Melbourne, a Victorian Government Initiative.

The free Future Founders Festival aims to immerse students in the startup ecosystem, providing the knowledge, inspiration, skills and networks they need to overcome the major barriers to starting a business in Australia.

The two-day program comprises a combination of online events including expert-led workshops, panel discussions, networking and a pitch competition. Speakers include some of Australia’s most inspiring migrant entrepreneurs and mentors.

StartSpace Community Lead Aun Ngo said the festival is a unique opportunity for international students to gain real-world business skills that might not be available elsewhere.

“Starting a business can be a huge challenge for most people but international student entrepreneurs face particular challenges. Cultural and language barriers, smaller networks, navigating work rights and visas as well as access to funding are just some of the obstacles they face.

“We can’t wait to unearth potential new businesses from within our vibrant international student community. It really speaks to the core of StartSpace, which was founded to help early-stage business founders from all backgrounds get their ideas off the ground through building confidence, connections and skills.”

Global Victoria CEO Gönül Serbest said the festival will build on the success of recent community roadshows and workshops focused on employability and entrepreneurship for Victoria’s international student population.

“The Future Founders Festival is helping students to build networks and explore opportunities with Victorian businesses and the start-up community, as well as connect with students offshore through our Study Melbourne Hubs initiative.

“The Victorian Government’s investment in the program is part of our plan to support the recovery of our international education sector – these initiatives will empower and support Victoria’s international students as a globally connected talent pool,” said Ms Serbest.

This year’s festival follows the success of the inaugural Future Founders Festival in 2020. It is the hallmark event of the new year-long Future Founders Program, which is designed to take international students and budding entrepreneurs on the journey from forming a business idea to getting it off the ground. It has been made possible thanks to a $500,000 investment from the Victorian Government, through Study Melbourne.

The festival is free, but participants must register. To do so, and for more information including the full speaker list and schedule, visit the festival website.