Sydney Founder Institute awards local ‘fellowships’ – StartupSmart

Sydney Dev Camp founder Danila Davidson is hoping to inspire more women to enter the start-up scene, after being awarded the Female Founder Fellowship by the Sydney Founder Institute.


Sydney Dev Camp, a boot camp-style development school, was founded by Davidson and Peter Argent. It claims it can turn entrepreneurs into entry-level developers in a 10-week program.


Davidson is also involved in the Lean Startup Machine and previously worked for Rocket Internet. She is also the former chief operation officer of the Israel Italy Chamber of Commerce.


Davidson has been awarded the Female Founder Fellowship by the Sydney Founder Institute, which opened applications for its autumn 2013 program in February.


The Founder Institute, founded by Adeo Ressi in Silicon Valley in 2009, is an early stage start-up accelerator and global launch network, which helps entrepreneurs create tech companies.


Through a part-time four-month program, existing and prospective founders receive expert training, feedback and support from experienced start-up chief executives.


The final application deadline for this year’s Sydney program is Sunday, March 17. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.


“The Female Founder Fellowship is awarded to the most extraordinary female applicant to the Sydney Founder Institute,” says Benjamin Chong, who heads up the Sydney branch.


“[It gives them] the opportunity to launch a company in the world-renowned entrepreneur training program for free.”


Since launching the Female Founder Fellowship program in early 2011, the percentage of female-led graduate companies from the Founder Institute has increased 62% to a total of 26%.


In addition, the most recent spring and summer 2012 graduating classes consisted of 36% female founded-companies.


Davidson told StartupSmart she is hopeful her admittance to the program will inspire other women.


“I would like first of all to see more ladies on the start-up scene,” she says.


“From my personal perspective, I look forward to learning… The more I can improve my skills and my ability to launch a business, the more able I am to actually build a business.


“As a creative person, I’ve got many, many ideas. I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn more, to become a better entrepreneur.”


“They focus on the founder, not the start-up, so you don’t even need to have an idea or a prototype or a successful start-up to actually join the foundation.


“You need to complete some personality assessment tests so they can prove you’ve got the right entrepreneurial attitude. That’s why I like it.”


Davidson isn’t the only entrepreneur to receive special recognition from the Sydney Founder Institute.


Self-employed consultant Vincent Cheong – who has previously worked for Splash Displays, Mcity Mobile and IBM – has been awarded the Applicant Distinction Fellowship.


“The Applicant Distinction Fellowship is awarded to the most extraordinary applicant for each chapter, giving them the opportunity to enrol in the Founder Institute for free,” Chong says.


“The recipient is recognised as somebody with the utmost potential to become a successful technology entrepreneur.”


Chong says the Sydney branch will admit around 30 entrepreneurs for the autumn program. He says Davidson and Cheong were chosen for the fellowships primarily because of their passion.


“They were very passionate and explained how they came through the decision making process, and what it is they’re hoping to get out of it,” Chong says.


“We just saw this as a natural fit.”

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