Harvard executive education alumni support for female founders in Australia

| March 8, 2022

As we celebrate International Women’s Day today we look to the work of the Australian Government sponsored Boosting Female Founder (BFF) mentorship program.

Dr Zivit Inbar and Xuelian Chi met at Harvard Kennedy School in 2019 and realised how much they have in common. While learning from the elite professors, they decided to partner together to make a difference in the global entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Following their studies, they started their partnership journey with the Australian Government sponsored Boosting Female Founder (BFF) mentorship program.

By helping the public sector offer mentorship training to female entrepreneurs, they applied the knowledge they gained at Harvard and felt fulfilment by developing founders and helping them scale up their businesses. In the first round of female founders’ mentorship, they supported start-ups and mid sized businesses in Fin-Tech, Health Tec, Med-Tech, Edu-Tech, Digital Marketing, Blockchain, Filming, Eco-friendly, and the Aboriginal communities.

The unique partnership of the HKS alumni received glorious reviews.

Alice Fitch, Founder of WHOLA, Australia’s only dedicated business to business fashion wholesale, feels that she was fortunate to have the opportunity to complete a series of coaching sessions with Zivit through the BFF Mentorship program.

“These sessions challenged me to think critically about all areas of my business. Zivit coached me to dive a little deeper to uncover a new understanding of how I can leverage growth in my business. And she held me accountable ‘What will you do? By ‘when’ was a constant refrain!”.

The outcomes of the mentorship were tangible, said Alice.

“We have implemented new initiatives to Wow our customers and strategies for managing our growing team. This has led to outstanding growth since we started the program and saw us break our daily revenue record!”.

Among Xuelian’s mentee was Mundanara Bayles, an Aboriginal Woman in business with her elders, Managing Directors at BlackCard. Mundanara said being part of the BFF program and being matched with her mentor Xuelian Chi was a great experience.

“It opened my eyes to the possibilities of global partnerships and BlackCard having a global impact. We are extremely grateful for the relationship we built with our mentor and we have promised to maintain this relationship even after the program”.

Xuelian and Zivit never looked back since they met in Cambridge. They have now started mentoring the next round of female founders through BFF and are working on expanding their partnership globally.