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Monday, 15 February 2021
Page: 768

Mr SHARMA (Wentworth) (10:33): I want to congratulate three innovative and accomplished women in the Wentworth community who were successful in receiving a Boosting Female Founders Initiative grant recently. Members may know that the Boosting Female Founders Initiative program is designed to help female founders of start-up business scale their businesses to reach domestic and global markets and help them overcome some of the disadvantages in access to finance and support experienced by female founders. It is a $52.2 million program, and there were three recent recipients in my electorate of Wentworth, and I want to single them out here.

Zara Lord, the founder and CEO of uPaged Pty Ltd, was a registered nurse who saw a gap in the market and helped create a platform where casual nurses could directly connect with employers, predominantly hospitals, to showcase their skills; uPaged focuses on having a disruptive impact on the health industry, cutting out the middleman placement agencies and giving nurses more autonomy over their workplace choices and hospitals better access to staff. On being awarded a Boosting Female Founders grant of $398,155, Zara has been able to accelerate the growth of her start-up business to a wider Australian healthcare market as well as undertake global expansion. The uPaged business model uses technology to advance employment practices, increasing employee wages and choices and lowering employer costs for healthcare organisations. With the assistance of the grant, expansion of such an innovative and transformational business has been particularly timely given the changes and challenges that the health industry has faced in the last year through COVID. Well done to Zara and the uPaged team.

I also met with Kylie Legge, the CEO of Place Score. Place Score is a company which collects human-centric data to guide decisions on planning within cities and towns. The $186,000 Boosting Female Founders grant has helped Kylie's business create a nationally consistent online platform for measuring and tracking liveability in urban environments from a community perspective. The idea is that different levels of government and the private sector can use these insights to understand community values and be better informed when making investment and planning decisions.

The third recipient I met with is Cate Hull, the CEO and founder of Freight Exchange. Kate helped develop a digital market for freight, connecting carriers with shippers and enabling the efficient management of freight in one place, in particular removing some of the paperwork that currently bedevils freight practices. Cate was keen to expand the reach of Freight Exchange, and the $400,000 Boosting Female Founders grant has enabled Cate to launch her business in a multimodal and global way, including with sites in Hong Kong.

Congratulations to Zara, Kylie and Cate on your vision, hard work and entrepreneurial skills. With these businesswomen's ongoing determination, and with the assistance of Australian government grants, these Australian founded businesses will continue to grow and in so doing create jobs and help contribute to the strengthening of the Australian economy.