Are you a refugee or migrant with a great business idea? Then why not apply to take part in the latest pre-accelerator program at Catalysr.
Catalysr is a Western Sydney startup incubator for entrepreneurs from migrant and refugee backgrounds. Founded three years ago by KBB Power List honouree and 2018 Commonwealth Young Person of the Year, Usman Iftikhar, Catalysr aims to assist migrapreneurs to develop businesses that solve problems, innovate and deliver social change.
Over the past three years, Catalysr has helped over 100 migrants and refugees and supported the launch of more than 30 new enterprises.
Amongst Catalysr’s success stories is Robert Karimagako, an electrical engineer from Zimbabwe now living in Western Sydney. Karimagako’s idea for a clean energy grid that enables peer-to-peer energy sharing in the developing world is already gaining traction. Karimigako was recently accepted into the prestigious Energy Lab accelerator to build a reliable, affordable, green and smart grid that he plans to launch in December 2019 in developing communities similar to the one he grew up in.
Other migrapreneurs who have kickstarted their journey at Catalysr are husband and wife team from the UK, Tom Ray and Laura Myers. The couple is launching their virtual midwife app Yogibirth next month. Designed by Laura, a midwife by trade, Yogibirth is an online platform for pregnant women that includes yoga, meditations and visualisations to help women perceive birth as their greatest achievement, not their greatest fear.
“We joined Catalysr for three reasons. To provide (1) momentum, to keep us going, (2) structure, to keep us lean and disciplined, and (3) connections, to accelerate our learning,” said Myer.
“Throughout the program, we actually realised a fourth, and possibly more important benefit: confidence. This led to me going from being a full-time employee of someone else’s business to becoming a full-time founder of our own business, YogiBirth, an online pregnancy yoga studio that helps women prepare for birth. As we launch, would we be here today without this confidence boost, probably not? Accelerators aren’t always about the content, their greatest benefit can also come from their empowerment of self-belief,” says Myer.
An accidental entrepreneur, Iftikhar began Catalysr following his own struggles to find meaningful work as a mechanical engineer. It was after completing a social enterprise incubator in Sydney that the twenty-something decided to launch Catalsyr and solve what he saw as a real-world problem: the unemployment and underemployment of Australia’s skilled migrants and refugees.
Today Iftikhar is justifiably chuffed by the success of his cohort of migrapreneurs.
“We are proud to see our migrapreneurs making waves across industries and see our vision of building Australia 2.0 coming to life”, said Iftikhar.
Applications to Catalysr’s 2019 pre-accelerator program close next Monday 1st July. For more information and to apply, visit www.catalysr.com.au