First Gens 2.0 pre-accelerator welcomes 25 startups into the “VALIDATE” stage

Voicetech apps, artificial intelligence (AI), online marketplaces and story-telling software are some of the 25 startups that have been selected to progress to the “VALIDATE” stage of this year’s inaugural ‘First Gens 2.0’ pre-accelerator, a joint initiative by Catalysr and ygap in Melbourne.  

‘First Gens 2.0’ supports migrant and refugee entrepreneurs (“migrapreneurs”) and combines Catalysr’s award winning pre-accelerator model with ygap’s internationally acclaimed First Gens Program to bridge the gap between the ideation, validation and growth phases of an enterprise.

70 startups completed twelve weeks of the “IDEATE” stage comprising of masterclasses, mentoring and community events, culminating in a virtual pitching session which led to the selection of the top 25 startups to participate in “VALIDATE.” 

Launched on April 4th, “VALIDATE” consists of a startup bootcamp, weekly sprints and startups events, community events as well as mentoring and support with entrepreneurs-in-residence (EIRs). In response to the pandemic, the program is being run virtually via Zoom and a range of online tools. 

The EIRs are renowned industry experts who have been selected to assist the migrapreneurs with coaching, strategic thinking, problem solving and ad-hoc support. The EIR team includes: Pratibha Rai (product expert), Jeanette Cheah (co-founder of The Hacker Exchange, Anthonly Cabraal (Director at Enspiral Foundation), Winitha Bonney (Founder of Amina of Zaria) and Roberto Daniele (Founder at Changemakers’ lab). 

While our migrapreneurs face challenges that have been intensified as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, ygap and Catalysr will continue to back our migrapreneurs by providing a supportive community, sharing resources and opportunities so together, we can survive the challenges that lie ahead of us and work towards creating a better world for all. 

“Now more than ever, we need more problem solvers. We need more people fearlessly standing up to tackle the challenges we face presently and into the future. These 25 startups represent exactly that. They are rising to the challenge – the work they do, despite these difficult times we face, is very inspiring and I am super excited that we can continue to support them along their entrepreneurial journey.” – Adelide, First Gens Program Manager

“It has been incredible to see these migrapreneurs take on big challenges for the prosperity of Australia and the globe. We have had a very tough job to select the top 25 teams for this stage, some of whom have already launched their products and created value in their community. Especially given the Covid-19 crisis, I can’t wait to see the incredible work all these migrapreneurs will do to tackle directly and indirectly the challenges it poses for our health, work and home life, and economy more broadly” says Usman, CEO of Catalysr. 

For more information, please contact: Kim Nguyen (First Gens 2.0 program coordinator) at