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Vic Innovation Accelerator Gives Startups a $6.5M Boost

Wednesday, 7th September 2016 at 9:52 am
Wendy Williams
Social enterprises and startups in Victoria have received a $6.5 million boost as part of a vision to make the state the number one destination for startups and entrepreneurs in Australia.

Wednesday, 7th September 2016
at 9:52 am
Wendy Williams



Vic Innovation Accelerator Gives Startups a $6.5M Boost
Wednesday, 7th September 2016 at 9:52 am

Social enterprises and startups in Victoria have received a $6.5 million boost as part of a vision to make the state the number one destination for startups and entrepreneurs in Australia.

Child with a jetpack

LaunchVic, the state’s startup funding body, which has pledged $60 million over four years for the development of Victoria’s startup ecosystem, has revealed the winners of its first round of grants.

The Foundation for Young Australians’ Launch Clubs project and iGen Foundation’s Youth Entrepreneur Mentoring Scheme were among 18 projects across the state to receive funding, with winning projects ranging from large ideas for startup hubs, incubators and accelerators, to smaller ideas enabling established organisations to increase their scale, reach and impact.

The largest grant of $1.25 million went to Runway, to fund a range of initiatives to launch a startup culture in Geelong that will establish the city as a global centre for innovation and entrepreneurship.

LaunchVic chair Ahmed Fahour said the grants recognised the diverse range of startups in Victoria.

“LaunchVic’s first round of funding celebrates the fact that entrepreneurship comes in many shapes and sizes – there is no one ‘face’ that represents the startup ecosystem in Victoria,” Fahour said.

“We will continue to work to enhance competition, collaboration and quality in the ecosystem, not duplicate what others do.”

Launch Clubs, which received $75,000 in this first round of grants, aims to help reduce barriers for young regional entrepreneurs by providing a free coworking space, shared back-end services and access to industry mentors.

FYA CEO Jan Owen AM said there was an urgent need to support young people in regional Victoria to develop entrepreneurial skills that could open pathways to self-employment, job creation and revitalisation of regional communities.

“Regional Australia is responsible for 67 per cent of the value of Australian exports but the average rate of welfare dependency in regional Australia is around 30 per cent compared to 19 per cent in urban areas, and the worst 15 areas of Australia for youth unemployment in regional Australia,” Owen said.

“With employment landscapes shifting due to increased globalisation and automation, many traditional industries such as manufacturing and public service are now offered offshore, online or in centralised urban areas. Geographically isolated young Victorians are at greater risk of being unable to adapt to these changes, yet these young people are in desperate need of opportunities to generate ideas and enterprises to address social challenges.

“By encouraging young entrepreneurs in these communities and increasing the survival rate of start-up enterprises, we hope to support rapid-diversification of local economies, reinforce positive aspects of localism and reduce youth unemployment.”

Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis said the investment in Victoria’s startup sector was important for the future of job creation in Victoria.

“We want Victoria to be the location of choice for startups across the Asia Pacific Region and LaunchVic is making it happen,” Dalidakis said.

“These projects will help young companies and ideas develop to create jobs and industries that will support Victoria for decades to come.

“Victoria is leading the country in startup and small business growth, with around 8,000 new businesses created in the last year alone, and we need to ensure the right support is in place to help them thrive.

“The Andrews Labor government is investing heavily in Victoria’s startup and tech sectors – the future of job creation in Victoria.”

Project highlights include:

  • Startupbootcamp will come to Melbourne in 2017, attracting Asia-Pacific’s best Internet of Things and data tech startups to the city
  • Social Traders will deliver a pipeline of accelerator-ready social enterprise ideas focused on creating employment opportunities for people facing barriers to work
  • Lemonade Stand, a startup program for kids aged 9-12, will expand into schools and online
  • a major startup hub is to be established in Geelong as a global centre for innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as create a cyber security incubator at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus
  • La Trobe University, in a partnership with Deakin University and Federation University will establish an accelerator program to unlock innovation across regional Victoria.

A full list of grant recipients can be found here. Applications for the second round of funding will open next month.

Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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