LaunchVic, the Victorian Government’s startup funding body, has announced a focus on finding startups that support the state’s migrants and refugees as it looks ahead to its third funding round.
The announcement came in hand with the release of LaunchVic’s strategic plan. Covering 2017 to 2019, the plan outlines two key goals: engaging and growing the Victorian startup community, and positioning Victoria as an internationally-recognised startup ecosystem.
As part of engaging and growing the community, LaunchVic identified the need to lead with diversity and inclusion, and support programs that encourage more new founders to join the startup ecosystem.
Kate Cornick, CEO of LaunchVic, said, “It’s very clear what we need to do if we are to grow the potential we have right here on our doorstep and position Victoria as a global ecosystem.
“We don’t need to be Silicon Valley or Tel Aviv. We have a very strong brand and a strong start up sector that make us a destination in itself, something we want to capitalise on over the next two years.”
Also among LaunchVic’s focus areas is fostering better connections between startups and corporates to test product/market fit, and secure first customers and revenue; developing a stronger angel investor community; educating the wider community so there are more people willing to work in startups; and developing founders with “impressive ideas with global potential”.
Since its launch in early 2016, LaunchVic has run two funding rounds, investing in 26 projects. Among these have been a number of regional-focused initiatives, such as Runway Geelong, while it has also spent to bring international programs Startupbootcamp and 500 Startups to Melbourne.
Also looking to grow the Victorian startup landscape is State Library Victoria, which will put a $2 million donation towards establishing Start Space, a hub to support early-stage entrepreneurs through free access to resources, services, programs, and mentors.
Formerly CEO of Dun & Bradstreet and currently on the board of the State Library, Christine Christian made the donation saying it is a natural home for Start Space.
“The Library has always been a place where anyone can freely access information and knowledge to help them reach their potential,” she said.
“Start Space extends that to support those looking to embark on an entrepreneurial journey. It will take the fear out of getting started by providing access to the right support, advice and networks, which I know from experience makes a significant difference to a venture’s success.”
Kate Torney, CEO of State Library Victoria, said Start Space will be “an early incubator and a launch pad” for aspiring entrepreneurs.
“This extraordinary donation will make an enormous difference to those individuals who have the nub of an idea, but don’t know where to start,” she said.
“What we’re creating is unique in that it provides free support at that critical starting point for people who are developing their idea but aren’t yet ready to take the leap into the startup world.”
Image: Kate Cornick. Source: Supplied.