While the global tech space has long been aware of the need for greater diversity within its ranks, not many organisations have been prepared to put their money where their mouth is – until today. LaunchVic, the independent body launched by the Victorian Government last year to oversee the state’s $60 million startup fund, has today announced its advisory board, with more women getting a seat at the table than men.
Making the announcement at the Above All Human conference in Melbourne this morning, Victorian Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis named Australia Post chief Ahmed Fahour as chair, with Elana Rubin, director at Mirvac Group named deputy chair.
Fahour and Rubin will be joined by: Jo Burston of Job Capital and Inspiring Rare Birds, Tim Fawcett of Cisco Systems Australia, CareerLounge’s Dominique Fisher, CEO of PENSO Con Frantzeskos, Philip Kingston of Trimantium Capital, head of social segment at ANZ Jane Martino, Rachael Neumann of Eventbrite, Kee Wong of e-Centric Innovations, and Susan Wu, head of Stripe Australia and New Zealand.
The organisation will be headed by CEO Dr Pradeep Philip, former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Dalidakis said he was confident the team had the right innovative and entrepreneurial spirit needed to steer the new body and deliver Victorian startups what they need.
Dalidakis said, “This is an amazing team to steer LaunchVic and is one that has some extraordinary success stories and a wealth of experience in this space – there has never been a more exciting time to be a startup in Victoria.”
“The calibre of women on this board should also, absolutely, dispel the myth that government and corporate boards cannot meet a 50/50 target,” he added.
The Victorian Government announced its commitment to having at least 50 percent female representation on public boards last March, with Premier Daniel Andrews saying, “It’s not a target. It is not an aspiration. It’s an assurance.” With this, LaunchVic has become the first organisation in the innovation space to have a greater number of women on its board than men.
As the cornerstone of the government’s $60 million startup fund – which will be provided over four years from the Premier’s $508 million Jobs and Investment Fund – LaunchVic has been tasked with strengthening and building the current operating environment of Victoria’s startup ecosystem.
The organisation will look to do this through investment in core infrastructure, improvements in access to capital for local startups, advocating on Commonwealth legislation and regulation, and engagement in startup events, campaigns, competitions, and mentoring programs.
Announcing LaunchVic last December, Dalidakis said that the Government’s goal is to make Victoria the location of choice for startups worldwide, and “LaunchVic will make it happen.”
A number of startups, both local and global, have already made their choice; Zendesk and GoPro last year announced they would be opening their regional headquarters in Melbourne, while Freelancer took up the Victorian Government’s offer of $1 million in funding and five years of in-kind support to move its SydStart conference to Melbourne.
Image: Philip Dalidakis.