Can you help our refugee accelerator program?

This August we’ll open for applications for the second intake of the refugee and marginalised migrant accelerator program, Catalysr.

Our DGR status just came through, meaning donations are tax-deductible, and we have only a little time before the end of the Australian tax year. Please whip out your credit card now and hit up

Update: some early donors have correctly observed the website still says donations to Catalysr aren’t tax deductible. Sorry! The DGR status literally just came through and I don’t have the Squarespace login. We will fix that but in the meantime I personally guarantee your donation is tax-deductible.

Many of the mentors to the program are from our local startup community, including Samantha Wong, Anne-Marie Elias, Nicola Hazell, Pratibha Rai, Jeremy Kwong-Law, Tom Bass, Amit Jaiswal, Tony Burrett, Gavin Heaton, Ryan Cross, Ben Sand and me. Pratibha (“Dek”) also helps run the program with directors Usman Iftikhar, Jake Muller and head of community Natasha Hanna.

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Catalysr’s first full cohort with some of their mentors in their Parramatta incubator space

Ask yourself: who needs your tax dollar more?

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This guy?

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Or this husband and wife starting a catering business?

So please, whip out your credit card now and hit up

About Catalysr

Tech startup accelerators are about creating very high-growth/high-risk companies. Catalysr is not about that, instead aiming to identify and develop latent entrepreneurial ability among refugees and marginalised migrants, with the aim of creating viable, stable small/medium-sized businesses that provide income security and employment to their owners and employees.

The most likely outcome for a refugee arriving in Australia is to spend more time dependent on social security than we would like, and if successful finding employment, very likely to remain in casualised employment for the remainder of their working years.

A generation ago, refugees or migrants with unskilled blue-collar jobs could qualify for a home loan because housing was more affordable and the higher rate of unionisation meant most blue collar jobs were secure.

These days, an UberX gig, minimum-hours cleaning or supermarket employment contract is not going to cut it for a home loan. At best, those refugees may be able to put their children — the second generation — through tertiary education so that they can find financial security and begin aspiring to the ‘Australian dream’.

From a purely economic view, Australia is unlikely to see a return on the investment of accepting a refugee until the second generation is mid-career.

If Catalysr can work with the skills, interests and aspirations of the most entrepreneurial applicants to create a viable small/medium business, it can potentially bring that ‘return on refugee investment’ forward to 5–10 years from arrival instead of 30–40.

The businesses Catalysr creates might employ not just the refugee and their immediate family but may provide employment for other Australians, particularly (given the resource needs of most small businesses) your kids and mine when they hit working age.

Would you rather your kids working for the shareholders of Wesfarmers or McDonalds, or would you rather they were employed by a local small business created in an accelerator program modelled on many of the principles you know from your involvement with our own tech startup community?

So there’s that.

Please whip out your credit card now and hit up

I’m Alan Jones, an EiR for startup accelerators, GP at M8 Ventures. Previously investor, founder, and early Yahoo PM. Opinions mine (but should also be yours).

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