Global digital recruitment agency Talent has announced the opening of applications for its annual Talent Unleashed Awards, which look to uncover strong local startup and entrepreneurial talent.
The competition, according to Talent founder and Executive Chairman, Richard Earl, was established to promote “bold ideas” and support new waves of entrepreneurs in Australia.
The event began its first run back in 2013, awarding Perth-based not-for-profit edutech startup Classroom of Hope first prize.
Talent Unleashed soon expanded its competition into separate categories, with this year’s awards including Best Idea, Best Startup with a social or community impact, Best Startup focused on digital innovation, Most Disruptive, and Most Progressive.
Shortlisted startup will be tasked with pitching their ideas at the Talent Unleashed Awards finals event, to be held in Melbourne during December.
Earl said the Awards aim to support Australia’s startup sector, which often falls short compared to its booming international competition.
“Whilst there are some great things occurring in the Australian startup sector, it is still falling short compared with the level of activity Talent’s international offices are seeing in the UK, Germany, Holland, Singapore, New Zealand, and of course, the United States,” he said.
“Innovation is in our DNA – we started these awards five years ago to support the brightest technology ideas and talent of today, and inspire the game changing entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”
This year will see Virgin Group founder Richard Branson return to the judging panel, with Branson saying he was pleased to be a part of the drive towards encouraging talented entrepreneurs to enter the spotlight and foster innovation.
“The technology startup sector will continue to transform and disrupt the global economy for many years to come and importantly can make the world a better place. We must encourage more talented individuals and organisations to become bolder and more active and in the process help drive innovation, invention and more efficiency and change across many sectors,” he said.
Joining Branson on the panel will be Equitise founder Chris Gilbert, Outblaze founder Yat Siu, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, and 2014 Talent Unleashed winner of Best Startup, Frances Valentine, founder of The Mind Lab.
Earl said he’s thrilled to have a previous award winner return to judge the competition.
“It’s been incredible to have been able to support Frances on her entrepreneurial journey and it will be excellent to have her share her insights with this year’s finalists,” he said.
Select winners from both the Talent Unleashed APAC and global competitions, which award entrepreneurs from the US and UK, will be invited to attend a paid trip to Silicon Valley.
Here, the startups receive guided tours through some of the Valley’s companies and also attend a lunch with Wozniak.
You can find more about the Awards here.
Image: Talent Unleashed 2015 Event. Source: Supplied.