Inspiring Rare Birds’ progressing gender equality via national mentoring program

by Inspiring Rare Birds Pty Ltd



With the support of the Office for Women, Inspiring Rare Birds launched a national scholarship
program in June 2017 to provide mentorships to 100 marginal demographic women
entrepreneurs who were Indigenous or of Torres Strait Islander descent; regional, rural or
remotely located; migrants or refugees; of low socioeconomic background; or disabled.

The Inspiring Rare Birds mentoring program provides high calibre mentors to entrepreneurs
seeking to advance their personal and business development by way of one-on-one mentoring.
Entrepreneurs embark on a 12 month journey with their mentor, spending four hours per month

Rare Birds received over 300 applications for the program, extensive media coverage and engagement on social media bring attention to the program and women seeking support in their personal and business journeys.

Project implemented: June 2017

Project goal

Increasing women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership and entrepreneurship at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life. These initiatives are aimed at eliminating discrimination against all women in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and public speaking circuit.

delivering on

why is this project important?

Career, business and personal development for women results in financial independence, less reliability of our social system, more visible role models and a move toward pay parity.

Key steps to make it happen


Invited women nationally to apply for the program and created an impartial selection team to review responses.


Extensively interviewed both mentees and mentors to assure their genuineness, active adoption and engagement of the program

3Matching with technology

We used a unique algorithm to match the mentors and mentees

4Data analysis

We are taking periodical quantitative and qualitative data via surveys to assess growth and success factors

impact to date

Indigenous and Torres Strait Island women
Migrant and Refugee women
Low Socio-Economic background women
Regional, rural and remote women
We selected women across 16 different industry sectors.
Of mentees now believe a mentor is what they needed to grow their companies

Increased levels of business confidence and business opportunities

Increased activity, engagement and connection in the global Rare Birds community

Increased commercial opportunities

Increase equality for women lead businesses

39% of mentors are male volunteers, 61% are women. Increase number of active men wishing to be a part of the gender equality solution, versus the problem.

Increase employee head count by businesses.

Inspiring Rare Birds has developed a number of initiatives to support the goal to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls:

Inspiring Mentoring Scholarships Program: Inspiring Rare Birds launched the Inspiring Mentoring Scholarship Program in June 2017, with funding from the Office for Women under the Australian Government’s Women’s Leadership and Development Strategy. This program provides high calibre business mentors to 100 marginal demographic women entrepreneurs who are Indigenous or of Torres Strait Islander descent; regional, rural or remotely located; migrants or refugees; of low socioeconomic background; or disabled. The 100 scholarship recipients have begun their 12 month mentorship, spending four hours per month with their mentor to work on their business and professional development. 47% of the scholarship recipients stated they previously suffered from a lack of resources, and through this program now have access to education, training and tools to help them grow their business.

The program has created a safe, confidential environment both on and offline for women entrepreneurs to have high calibre discussions about the challenges they are facing growing themselves and their businesses. Mentoring is an informal, experienced based form of education that works via the transfer of tacit knowledge from one individual to another in complete confidence. The women in this program have been connected to C Suite leaders, serial entrepreneurs and subject matter experts they would not otherwise have exposure or access to.

The Rare Birds Mentoring Program has been operating for 3 years and has had over 900 participants both as mentors and mentees. The program has recently been expanded to service corporate women and those companies in largely male dominated sectors as a means to retain talent, attract more women talent and move the needle on diversity inclusion and gender equality at a leadership level.

Rare Birds Speak: In September 2017 Rare Birds launched the world’s first women-only, all-inclusive, full service speaker agency and media hub. Rare Birds Speak was developed to challenge the status quo and combat gender imbalance in the media and professional public forums. Australia’s most remarkable, accomplished and inspiring female speakers, game changers, media commentators, story-tellers and subject matter experts are part of this movement to create more diversity on stages and pages around the world.

Global Ambassador Program: Inspiring Rare Birds has activated 14 communities of practice throughout metro, regional and rural Australia, which are lead by Rare Birds ambassadors who are entrepreneurs, business leaders and highly connected individuals. These communities provide access to education, mentoring and events to women entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, and develop a grassroots community for women and girls to connect with each other and access the tools and resources they need to grow their businesses.

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