A new partnership between cleantech energy accelerator EnergyLab and startup pre-accelerator Catalysr will see 50 early stage migrant and refugee-founded startups receive specialist support.

‘Migrapreneurs’ from the Catalysr program working on cleantech startups will receive desk space, mentoring from EnergyLab and Catalysr will assist them to apply for the EnergyLab accelerator program through which they can access seed funding, training, mentoring and further office space, as well as being part of a community of entrepreneurs that support each other on the startup journey.

The new partnership will accelerate diversity in the energy and cleantech space, bringing widespread benefits for both those taking part and for the sector as a whole.

“Migrants and Refugees who become entrepreneurs change not only their own lives but also make businesses inclusive from the start,” said CEO of Catalysr and 2018 Commonwealth Young Person of the Year nUsman Iftikhar

“We coined the term ‘Migrapreneur’ to help overcome the stigma attached to the words ‘migrants’ and ‘refugees’. A third of all small businesses in Australia are owned by migrants and, according to Startup Muster, more than 35% of startup founders were born outside Australia – this is a phenomenal track record that should be recognised and celebrated with a new word.

“Our vision is to harness diversity to create Australia 2.0, with a strong mission to create 10,000 jobs in the next 10 years.”

“Everyone in Australia uses energy. Migrants represent almost 30% of Australia’s population – and women make up half – so it’s high time our industry was representative of its own customer base,” said EnergyLab managing director Piers Grove.

“Studies have also shown repeatedly that more diverse Boards and business leadership frequently results in better performing companies so partnering with Catalysr on their excellent program is a no brainer socially and economically for the energy sector.

“The clean tech and energy sectors will be undergoing a fundamental shift and technological disruption in the next ten years and the best way to prepare for this is to make our businesses more agile and as diverse as they can possibly be.”