Christie Whitehill Tech Ready Women Interview

Christie Whitehill Tech Ready Women Interview

From Idea To Tech Startup

The pitch event is sponsored by the City of Sydney as part of a $25,000 cash grant to help more women start viable tech businesses with entries now open online for women to submit either a two minute video clip or a written pitch, showcasing their business idea. Five finalists will be chosen by a judging pane and will receive two hours of pitch training, ahead of the final live pitch event on Wednesday 19 September, to be held at the Sydney offices of Herbert Smith Freehills. The application deadline is 5:00PM on Monday, 17 September 2018.

The winners will receive a 12 month membership with Tech Ready Women's Sydney Accelerator program.

The City of Sydney awarded Tech Ready Women with a $25,000 cash grant for the pitch competition and workshop program to help women develop their business ideas by connecting them to experts and mentors. Lord Mayor Clover Moore, said the event would event support the City's tech startup action plan goals to attract the best global talent and create an environment that helps innovative businesses to thrive.

Interview with Christie Whitehill, CEO and Founder of Tech Ready Women

Question: What is Tech Ready Women?

Christie Whitehill: Tech Ready Women has been specifically designed for non-tech women who want to step confidently into the tech space. We offer an accelerator program that provides women with tech startup education, access to world-class mentors, and connections to the startup community to help launch, build and grow a successful tech startup. I am proud to say that we were named as the Accelerator of the Year at the 2017 Australasian Startup Awards.

Question: What inspired the creation of Tech Ready Women?

Christie Whitehill: I saw a gap in the market when it came to the skills development and technical education for women in the tech space. I personally have experienced the challenges that come with trying to build a tech startup with no tech experience. Having lost tens of thousands of dollars in development costs and third party consultation fees, I have made it my personal mission to break down as many barriers as I can to enable women to step confidently into the ever evolving tech space.

Can you tell us about the upcoming pitch night?

Christie Whitehill: The "From idea to tech startup" event will be taking place in Sydney on September 19th and is being supported by the City of Sydney under the knowledge exchange sponsorship program. Entries are now open online, for women to submit their two minute video clip pitching their business idea. Five finalists will be chosen by a judging panel on the 12th of September and will receive two hours of pitch training on Friday the 14th of September, ahead of the final live pitch event on Wednesday 19 September. The three winners at the event will receive a 12 month membership to Tech Ready Women's Sydney accelerator program. The night will also include an all female founder panel talk with Amanda Hart, (Founder and CEO at Social Health Innovations Inc). Jessica Ellerm, (Co-founder Zuper) and Hayley Warren, (HALO Medical Devices Founder & CEO and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader).

Question: What do you hope From Idea To Tech Startup attendees achieve?

Christie Whitehill: Ideally we want everyone to leave this event feeling inspired to be a future female entrepreneur of tomorrow. This event is really about bringing like-minded women together into a space where there will be an abundance of support and guidance from women who are already making waves within the industry. It isn't easy when starting a new venture or idea. We want women to feel strong and excited about where tech could take them!

Question: How should women in start-ups approach funding and grants?

Christie Whitehill: Starting a business can be exciting and all encompassing, but it can also be stressful and expensive. The good news is that there is a range of business grants in Australia that can help alleviate some of that pressure.

I recently wrote a blog about this here, outlining a number of available business grants for women in small business that they should consider applying for.

In addition to this, it really can be as easy as starting with a search online for grants within your specific industry and researching your local government sites as well can be useful.

For more helpful information you can also visit

Question: Why is it important that women create a vision for their business?

Christie Whitehill: The foundations of your start-up will be an unshakable vision for your business, with clear reasons why you are about to devote the majority of your waking hours to this idea. Through my own experience starting a tech business I found my business purpose and it hasn't changed since I started six years ago. Empowering women to have the confidence to step into the tech space and be educated on how the industry works are my driving purpose and shape every business decision I make.

Question: What is an elevator pitch?

Christie Whitehill: An elevator pitch is basically your verbal, 30 sec CV. Think of it as a perfect quick summary of what you do, who you are and where you'd like to go.

Question: What mistakes do women make in their elevator pitch?

Christie Whitehill: Not being prepared can lead to nerves. Practice your pitch in the mirror over and over until it is ingrained and flows naturally. Don't use industry jargon that people not in the industry can't understand.

I once heard a pitch from a woman who was working in the health industry. Her solution and product was ground breaking, however, when she was trying to explain what it was no one could understand what she was talking about and tuned out. Tip: Craft your pitch so that even an 8 year can understand what you do then you'll be onto a winner.

Tip: Get someone to film you (or set up the camera yourself) so you can watch your performance back and learn where you can make improvements. It's not fun watching yourself on camera but trust me, it is worth it in the long run.

Question: How can we create the perfect elevator pitch?

Christie Whitehill: Be confident, stick to your key points and practice, practice, practice! The best pitch I've seen delivered in our program was by Ella Walker, Founder of Prammer. She was confident and poised with how she delivered. When I asked her afterwards about it she said she had spent hours practicing and working with the mentors to refine her pitch to know it inside out. By the end of her pitch she had everyone wanting to learn more and had left a positive impression.

Interview by Brooke Hunter


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