After winning AU$150,000 from the Global Influencer Program, which included a trip to Paris to receive an award from Amal Clooney, Australian start-up Teacher Well teaches a start-up about daily commitment and purpose.
“We were working hard on a really persistent and deeply intractable problem,” says Ingrid Seeley, founder and director of education startup Teacher Well.
In the year In 2019, the Perth-based entrepreneur launched Teach Well to provide meaningful lifelong learning opportunities for teachers and school leaders looking to improve student outcomes.
Since then, more than 2000 K-12 teachers and school leaders across Australia have been impacted by the programs, with 83 percent of participants reporting increased student academic growth as a result of Teach Well’s Masterclass Series.
“The teachers and leaders we’ve worked with have made incredible progress in closing the equity gap,” she said. “So for a very complex problem that’s difficult to move forward, we’ve made incredible gains in this space.”
The seed of the idea came ten years ago when Ingrid was working on a non-profit program to support school leaders in disadvantaged communities in Western Australia.
“What we found was that there were a few schools that were making big gains and most schools were not. It wasn’t for lack of effort or commitment or care. “It was very difficult to find educational interventions that would make a difference,” she says. “Once we look at the research, what’s clear is … there has to be something in the classroom that moves students forward.
Teach well and cartier women’s initiative
In the year Fast forward to May 10, 2023, when Ingrid was one of 32 women of influence recognized by the 16.Th Annual Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards ceremony at the Salle Pleille concert hall in Paris.
After addresses from British lawyer and human rights activist Amal Clooney and Cyril Vigneron, CEO and President of Cartier International, Ingrid was selected as the winner of the Cartier Women’s Initiative for the Oceania region and awarded a grant of AU$150,000.
“It was a great opportunity,” Ingrid tells Startup Daily. I don’t think there will ever be anything like this again in my life.
The Cartier Women’s Initiative is an annual international entrepreneurship program with the goal of supporting the financial, social and human capital of women-owned businesses that create social and environmental impact. The program will select winners for each region, with Australia and New Zealand falling into the Oceania category. Three winners are selected for Oceania, one of which will take the top prize.
As applications open for the 2024 Cartier Women’s Initiative, Ingrid tells us why she applied.
“My experience is that awards and programs that have been around for a while are very good at making a meaningful difference to the people they’re trying to support,” says Ingrid.
“So there is work to be done when you apply for them and work through the various selection stages. [The Cartier Women’s Initiative] That process seemed like a reward that made sense to us. So they would ask me questions that made me stand back and think about the bigger picture. Those opportunities are few and far between when you’re working hard and trying to scale things up quickly.
Ingrid, who previously worked in strategy for The Boston Consulting Group and founded the leadership program Fogarty EDvance, found the selection process particularly rewarding. “I started working on the application this time last year, because during the various stages of application and due diligence, we got a lot of feedback, so it was great,” she said. Even before we get to January, I’ve gotten a lot out of the process.
Since January, the 32 selected fellows have been provided with tailored mentoring and training by industry leaders, investors and entrepreneurs. Accessing media and communications was “intimidating and intimidating,” Ingrid said, adding that training in those areas was a game-changer for her.
Ingrid said: “This is a great personal investment and will help our company grow further. “It gave me a lot of confidence in that position.”
Solving problems with the international community
The program culminates in the Executive Impact Leadership Program in Paris, led by INSEAD, the world’s leading graduate business school.
Ingrid said: “It was really interesting to choose entrepreneurship with some real-life case studies of what’s happening in some of the most exciting places in the world right now. This is the wonderful thing about this global community.
A major benefit of the program is to spend time with other female entrepreneurs creating positive change in areas such as climate and health. “I think it’s really important to be able to discuss what it means to balance impact and profitability with other people who have similar challenges in different ways and at different scales of impact to profitability,” points out Ingrid.
There is still a glass ceiling for women entrepreneurs to crack. “There’s an expectation in society for women to be more empathetic, to be more community-minded, to pay more attention to whatever negative externalities they’re doing, and to do that for free,” Ingrid explains.
“I’m so grateful to do work that makes a difference every day. But I think it’s very important that all men are encouraged, not just facilitated, to participate in the world that you lead with compassion, so that we don’t undermine women’s hopes and dreams. Whether it’s for business or profitability reasons, you can actually take time out of your career to make an impact on something you’re passionate about that can make a difference.
This also addresses barriers to investing in women’s startups. In the year By 2022, only three percent of venture capital will go to all-women startups. “Usually we’re underpriced, it’s hard to raise capital,” says Ingrid.
Ingrid says Cartier’s commitment to empowering female entrepreneurs comes from a real place, the investor outreach comes from spending time with Cartier’s CEO.
“That stood out to me. [Cartier CEO] “Cyril has taken a lot of time to spend with our colleagues, not just at the public events she faces in the future,” she said. “I feel like this is something that’s very respected by Cartier from top to bottom. I think it means a lot to us as our colleagues who drive impact and viability.
While Western Australia may be Ingrid’s base, Teach Well’s influence is expanding across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. Her goals are to scale that impact among East Coast schools and complex communities and share additional lessons with the international community.
Ingrid has a clear message for anyone considering applying for the 2024 Cartier Women’s Initiative. “Even if we didn’t make it to the finals, it was already meaningful to us as an organization,” she says. It is worth the investment.
Are you a female entrepreneur with an impactful business in Australia and New Zealand? Apply for the 2024 Cartier Women’s Initiative here.
This article is brought to you by Startup Daily in partnership with the Cartier Women’s Initiative.