Startup Victoria has appointed Georgia Beattie as its new CEO to help build and support the state’s startup ecosystem, with Startup Victoria seeking to transform the state into the number one tech destination in the Asia Pacific.
The Victorian organisation has the largest startup-focused entrepreneurial membership base around Australia, with more than 11,000 members. As CEO, Beattie will be tasked with further supporting the community in creating more high value jobs and global startups, with Startup Victoria cofounder and outgoing CEO Scott Handsaker saying Beattie’s appointment heralds a new chapter in the growth of the organisation.
Beattie added, “Startup Victoria has pioneered events and initiatives for the startup community at a grass roots level. I am incredibly honoured and excited to take the organisation to the next level.”
Beattie has a long history in the startup landscape, in 2009 coming up with the idea of single serve wine and transforming her idea into the now global brands Lupe and BeattieWines. The startup was named on BRW’s ‘Top 10 startups to watch’ list in 2012 and has now received international success.
Despite the international success, Beattie said there is a lot going on in Melbourne.
“It’s a lonely game running a startup, particularly in the manufacturing space, and I spent a lot of time overseas. However, Melbourne’s really rare and it’s here where the assets for learning come from,” she said.
In the space of five years, Beattie expanded the manufacturing startup around the world, before successfully exiting this year. During her founder journey she spent a lot of her time networking at events and workshops, which played an integral role for inspiration, education, and connecting with other like-minded entrepreneurs.
With Startup Victoria being the state’s biggest organisation for startups, regular tech events generally draw in more than 400 attendees every month. The organisation currently has seven major programs including annual conference Above All Human, an internship program, Tin Alley Beta, Startup Week, a mentorship program for female founders, office hours for the startup community, and Upscale Melbourne, a program to assist founders in scaling their business.
However, Beattie said that the biggest issue in the Victorian startup ecosystem is that entrepreneurs don’t think big enough.
“We have too many excellent people working on small ideas. We need to be focused on large global, impactful business and having the belief in the community to achieve this,” she said.
Startup Victoria is now on a mission to not only to provide startups with education and resources, but also to showcase the state as the go to destination for startups in Australia.
“We have a progressive government that is helping create a conducive environment for an entrepreneurial mindset . We have world class universities working together with industry to make Victoria the number one tech destination in the region,” she said.
With collaboration being a key point to Australia’s domination in Asia-Pacific for startups, it is clear that there is still heavy competition between the various states and cities, Melbourne and Sydney in particular. Earlier this year a number of big names across the Sydney tech and startup landscape came together to launch TechSydney, a not-for-profit initiative looking to bring collaboration to the city’s startup ecosystem in order to see Sydney dominate the national and global tech space.
Currently looking to raise $500,000 through a Pozible campaign, the organisation is looking to set up founder forums, confidential monthly get togethers with groups of entrepreneurs who are at similar stages, allowing them to both share wins and workshop issues and have TechSydney made aware of problems within the ecosystem. It also wants to implement ‘up/down mentoring’, having companies mentor a group below them in return for being mentored by a group above them in the spirit of paying it forward, and a tenant broker service to help companies find great office space.
Its long term plans include boosting the gender and cultural diversity of the startup landscape (a lack of which the organisation itself was again criticised for upon launch), working with universities to get more students interested in tech, building a members lounge or ‘epicentre’ for the ecosystem, collecting data on the progress and growth of the industry and, perhaps most importantly, being a single voice for the community.
While some industry leaders and politicians working in the space preach the value of collaboration across states over State of Origin-style competition, its clear TechSydney and Startup Victoria are dedicated to their own aims of pushing their respective communities ahead.
Beattie said, “We hope to combat one of Victoria’s weakness in going global through our our Upscale program, which matches our local founders with the best global entrepreneurial mentors. The program will be highly competitive, highly selective and only for the best.”
Image: Georgia Beattie. Source: Supplied.