About First Gens

In Australia, migrants and refugees continue to face increased challenges when starting a business, participating in the community and searching for employment. 

These challenges include: 

Access to funding   |   Access to social networks   |  Access to information   |  Discrimination

ygap developed the First Gens program to address these challenges by providing funding, world-class training and access to ygap’s extensive network of mentors, investors, advisors and supporters, and a supportive community.

Since launching in 2018, the ygap First Gens Program has supported 48 migrant and refugee-led impact ventures representing founders from 20 different countries and distributed over $175,000 in funding. These ventures have gone on to multiply their revenues, raise investment, create new jobs and impact thousands of lives in Australia.

The First Gens Program

The Facts


Migrants are almost twice as likely to be entrepreneurs as the wider Australian population – with refugees being the most entrepreneurial migrant group.


One in three owners of small businesses is born overseas with migrant businesses employing more than 1.4 million Australians, making a huge contribution to the Australian economy.


Migrant-owned small business will lead to an estimated 200,000 jobs created in the next 5-10 years.

Who Are We Looking For?

  • CALD entrepreneurs: there must be at least one culturally or linguistically diverse (CALD) founder/owner aged 18 years or older who will participate in the program.
  • Engaged: The founder/owner(s) must intimately understand their business and be looking to grow.
  • Impact: a social enterprise or not-for-profit business model is not required, but all applicants must have a desire to grow their business and community and/or environmental impact.
  • Currently operating and post-revenue: The business must be currently operating and generating revenue.

Application process

Apply online


Selections Announced

Accept offer

Program begins

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 KouBring Me Home

“Participating in the accelerator allowed me a chance to delve deeper into my ‘why’ as well as the problem I am solving. The relationships with like-minded migrants and support from the ygap facilitators has simply been invaluable. Since starting on this journey with ygap  I have expanded my ideas and way of thinking”.

Grace Mugabe, Financially Empowered 

“ygap and its terrific staff and mentors worked very hard to create an environment of trust for the cohort. We were lucky to be immersed in a 5-day bootcamp which brought together a structured framework and specific expertise to help bridge our weakest areas. ygap got all of us social impact entrepreneurs through the complex challenge of answering the question “what is it you truly do again?”

Amit Chawathe, Battlerz

Our Services

We’re always open to collaborating with values-aligned organisations that support diverse founders. To enquire about working with us, email firstgens@ygap.org

Please see below for some examples of our work.


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.

Culturally and linguistically diverse. 

CALD is an acronym used to refer to people from a range of countries and ethnic and cultural groups. In Australia, CALD status is most often defined as people born in non-English speaking countries, and/or who do not speak English at home. It also includes people born outside Australia but whose first language is English. 

ygap does not consider “CALD” as an identity description or consider people with a culturally and linguistically diverse background as “one group”.

In Australia, people face barriers to thrive as an entrepreneur when being identified, isolated, judged and/or discriminated against based on their religion, culture, language, appearance, identity, or country of birth. Our programs aim to contribute to the systemic change needed to remove these barriers to work towards an equitable entrepreneurial and business environment in Australia.

No. Our programs are for entrepreneurs from culturally and linguistically diverse communities. This includes migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers as well as people from families with a recent migration history. 

Please see our additional information under “What does CALD mean?” and contact us if you have any questions. We’re here to listen, learn and contribute towards an equitable entrepreneurial and business environment in Australia.

Our programs are free for participants.

Our programs are in-person, online, and sometimes a mix of both. Please check the specific program details.

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

Generally, we can only accommodate one founder per venture in our accelerator program or at our workshops. However, one-on-one support sessions are open for all founders to attend. Please provide your founder details in the application form so that we can discuss.

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

A social enterprise or not-for-profit business model is not required, but all applicants must have a desire to grow their business and community and/or environmental impact.