Social Startups Included in Innovation Festival
13 January 2016 at 10:14 am
Emerging social entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to pitch their business ideas at Melbourne’s Pause Fest, a major creative tech conference in the Asia Pacific region.
Pitchfest will be hosted by social enterprise development organisation, Social Traders, and each applicant will have 90 seconds to present their business model and social impact to a panel of business and technology experts.
Pause Fest, held in February, was started six years ago by George Hedon with the intention of being a catalyst for innovation.
But this is the first year that Social Traders has partnered with the festival to include social business in the lineup.
Head of Marketing at Social Traders, Mark Hemetsberger, worked with Hedon to set up the session and said that he was very responsive to the idea.
“From the get go they were really interested in including a social aspect to the overall theme of innovation and entrepreneurship,” Hemetsberger said.
“And I think that’s really important because the whole idea of social enterprise is around impact, it provides another dimension to entrepreneurship, rather than just straight up entrepreneurship using the marketplace and innovation to create a profit.
“The other side of the coin is entrepreneurship can be used to solve some of society’s most wicked problems, those problems that the market continually fails to address.”
Director of the Accelerator Program at the University of Melbourne, Rohan Workman, Head of Enterprise Development at Social Traders, Lisa Boothby, and Corporate Entrepreneur at Microsoft, Penelope Lewin, will judge the event and provide feedback to help the entrepreneurs gain development ideas.
The winning pitch will receive two tickets to attend the Social Enterprise Masters Conference and a day of mentoring and coaching with the Social Traders’s Crunch team.
Hemetsberger said the event was part of a push to ensure that social business reaps the rewards of the nation’s focus on innovation.
“Hopefully we’ll make sure that social enterprise and social entrepreneurship starts to build a larger voice [and get] more share of the pie around this entrepreneurship space,” he said.
Hemetsberger also said he expected the innovation agenda to be continued on a state level in Victoria.
“Victoria is by far the known social enterprise space in Australia and is increasingly being known as such, and Pause Fest is Victorian based so there was alignment there,” he said.
“We’re expecting the Victorian Government to make some positive announcements this year around social enterprise policy and framework.
“It’s a natural and happy marriage between Pause Fest and ourselves. We’re really excited about participating.”