About ygap’s First Gens Program

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

ygap’s First Gens program supports migrant and refugee led social impact ventures that are improving the lives of people living in disadvantage in Australia.

Predominantly funded by LaunchVic, ygap will be offering multiple intakes into its internationally acclaimed and proven program. Each First Gens program will consist of a five-day live-in accelerator followed by three months of tailored support. The best part – the program is completely free. We exist simply to support and grow early-stage social impact ventures.

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 access to small grants of up to $1000, introductions to ygap’s extensive network of technical and entrepreneurial mentors, one-on-one strategic sessions, and monthly bootcamps delivered by technical experts across a range of sectors. At the end of the support phase a showcase is held, giving each entrepreneur the opportunity to pitch to investors, philanthropists and potential partners.

The top entrepreneurs 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.

Applications Closed

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.

Applications for the June 2019 program will open early 2019

First Gens Testimonials

“When you’re running a startup, it’s so easy to get lost in the to-do list and forget why you first started. 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.

The accelerator and the ongoing master classes was a fantastic way for likeminded entrepreneurs to keep in touch, motivate each other and learn from one another. I would like to thank the entire ygap team who made the First Gens program possible and look forward to them inspiring more changemakers all over the world.”

Heng Hao Teo, Co-Founder of Dibs

I was full of scepticism when I joined the ygap First Gens accelerator program – will they really understand my passion? 

All my doubts went away on day ONE when Simon and Manita both welcomed me with open arms into my first ever accelerator course.

Besides some great mentors, well-structured class content, it was fantastic to connect with fellow migrants. Their passion was infectious and I came back with a clear road map for execution and some great friends!

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 Simon Lee, ygap’s Australian Program Manager: simon.lee@ygap.org

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