What is First Gens 2.0?

First Gens 2.0 is an exciting joint initiative by ygap & Catalysr.

It is a comprehensive entrepreneurship program that provides end to end support for migrant and refugee entrepreneurs from idea to accelerate stage. Supported by LaunchVic, First Gens 2.0 offers Catalysr’s pre-accelerator program to 60 “migrapreneurs” followed by ygap’s accelerator program for 12 early-stage startups. Together, ygap and Catalysr will find migrant and refugee entrepreneurs, develop the skills they need to succeed, and provide access to a network of support and the capital required to grow their startups.

Please read through the eligibility criteria before applying on the First Gens 2.0 program page.

About ygap’s First Gens Program

Predominantly funded by LaunchVic, ygap’s First Gens program has supported 36 migrant and refugee entrepreneurs since its launch in 2018. The First Gens program consist of a five-day live-in accelerator followed by three months of tailored support. The program is free for selected participants – we exist simply to support and grow early-stage social impact ventures.

The 2020 program will support another 12 migrant and refugee led ventures and will run from July – December 2020 (exact dates TBA) consisting of a five-day live-in accelerator followed by three months of tailored support and up to AUD$50,000 available of funding for the most promising startups.

Meet our Entrepreneurs

June 2019 Cohort   |   November 2018 Cohort   |   May 2018 Cohort

Meet our Mentors

June 2019 Cohort

The Program

A five-day intensive entrepreneurship program designed to fast track your early-stage venture. We will provide training, mentorship and a community of inspiring, like-minded entrepreneurs who are all working towards creating a better Australia.

Following the accelerator, we provide your venture with three months of tailored business support, mentorship opportunities and access to small grants of up to $1,000. At the end of the support phase, a showcase event is held giving you the opportunity to share about your venture with investors, philanthropists and industry leaders.

The most promising, viable ventures from each cohort will move into the growth phase where they will have access to an increased support package in addition to up to $25,000 of growth capital to scale.

To find out more about the program please contact First Gens Program Manager, Adelide Mutinda.


Who we are looking for

Early Stage: Ventures that have launched or have run a pilot and shown proof of concept. We typically look for ventures that have less than 100 customers and have been operating for less than two years.

Migrant or Refugee Led: There must be at least one migrant or refugee co-founder who will participate in the program.

Engaged: The founder(s) must intimately understand the problem they are solving.

Supports Those Living in Disadvantage: The venture must be improving the lives of people who are experiencing disadvantage in Australia.

First Gens 2.0

Applications for the First Gens 2.0 (pre-accelerator program) are now open.

First Gens 2020

Applications for the First Gens program are now closed but if you would like to apply for the 2020 First Gens accelerator program, please fill out the expression of interest form below.

First Gens Testimonials

“The ygap Accelerator helped me self-discover and allowed me to rewind to gain a deeper understanding of why I’m doing what I’m doing now. This was incredibly crucial to help accelerate my focus and goals. For any entrepreneurs, this is the accelerator you need to gain 10x focus and get your momentum back.”
Jane Kou, Founder of Bring Me Home

“ygap revolutionised the way I understand social entrepreneurship. The First Gens Program was educational and helped me develop a deep understanding of the problem my venture is solving, and provided us with the knowledge and resources required.”

Heng Hao Teo, Co-Founder of Dibs

“In addition to great mentors and well-structured class content, it was fantastic to connect with fellow migrants. Their passion was infectious and I came back not just feeling confident about my venture, but with a clear roadmap for execution! As a migra-preneur, I highly recommend the ygap First Gen program to anyone with a desire to drive social impact.”

Rinku Razdan, Founder of Connections

Technical Partners

As a part of the tailored support package we offer to the ygap First Gens entrepreneurs, ygap delivers a learning component that covers a range of topics that have been validated by ygap alumni as critical to the growth for early-stage social entrepreneurs. Delivered over three weekend bootcamps, this component of our program would not have been possible without the support of our technical partners.


Have a question? Check out our FAQs first to see if we’ve answered it. If not, get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to answer any question you have.

ygap defines a migrant is any person who is not born in Australia, while a refugee is a displaced person who has been forced to cross national boundaries and who cannot return home safely.

The program is completely free, including room and board while participating in the five day live-in accelerator program. Your only expenses will be getting to and from the venues.

The Accelerator and Demo Day will both be held in Melbourne, and attendance is mandatory. The Support phase will also be delivered in Melbourne, although in some cases this can be delivered remotely.

English is the language that the First Gens program is delivered in. We recommend an intermediate level of English proficiency.

The ventures we support must have a clear mandate or mission to uplift those living in disadvantage in some way. Typically, ygap supports ventures that increase access to education, employment, housing or healthcare.

Yes. While the main focus of the ygap First Gens program is to support migrant and refugee-led ventures, we do have limited spots available for ventures that are not migrant or refugee led, but are significantly impacting the migrant and refugee community.

Unfortunately, we can only accommodate one founder per venture for the Accelerator week. However, the support phase is open for all founders to participate in.

No, it is not as a requirement of the program.

Unfortunately, no. We are looking for ventures (they can be non-profit, social enterprise or for-profit) with a clear social impact that is core to your business model, not just an accidental by-product. We generally want to see evidence of this in the way you have structured your venture or your communications (website/social media etc.). It must be evident there is a clear value and priority placed on the social impact the venture generates. (An example could be: deliberate employment of marginalised/disadvantaged refugees or migrants)

More questions? Get in touch with Adelide Mutinda, ygap’s Australian Program Manager: adelide.mutinda@ygap.org.

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