The Victorian Government’s independent startup body, LaunchVic, has announced today the recipients of its third funding round, which focuses on backing startups that support the state’s migrant and refugees.
Five grants totalling $1.4 million were issued to Victorian startups who have developed, or are developing, initiatives to support migrant and refugee entrepreneurship; cash and in-kind investments combined raise the total investment for the round to approximately $2 million.
The round’s focus on projects supporting migrants and refugees was selected as a way for LaunchVic to encourage diversity and inclusion in Victoria’s startup scene, according to the organisation’s CEO, Kate Cornick.
Announced at the beginning of June alongside LaunchVic’s strategic plan for 2017 to 2019, the funding looked to back the organisation’s goal to engage and grow Victoria’s startup community while positioning the state as an internationally-recognised startup hub.
Core to achieving this growth would be through diversity and inclusion, and supporting programs that encourage more founders to join the startup ecosystem.
“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,” Cornick said at the time.
“We don’t need to be Silicon Valley or Tel Aviv. We have a very strong brand and a strong startup sector that make us a destination in itself, something we want to capitalise on over the next two years.”
Falling in line with LaunchVic’s previous funding rounds, which have invested in a number of regional-focused initiatives such as Runway Geelong, three out of five of this round’s recipients are regionally-based.
Amongst them is Cultov8, a 12 week pre-accelerator and hackathon event which will run across regional areas including Geelong, Ballarat, Shepparton, Broadmeadows, and Dandenong. The initiative is targeting migrants and refugee entrepreneurs, helping them kickstart their idea through mentorship and skill training.
The cohort’s reveal comes less than two weeks after the organisation terminated its partnership with global accelerator and fund 500 Startups following the resignation of Rachael Neumann, the accelerator’s head of operations in Australia.
Raising questions about the controversy surrounding 500 Startups and its founder Dave McClure ahead of the termination, the day prior saw Victorian innovation minister Philip Dalidakis asked during question time in Parliament about the transparency of LaunchVic grants, Neumann’s appointment in Australia, and Dalidakis’ own role in the wider funding decisions.
The full list of grant recipients are below:
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An incubator program looking to support 60 foodtech startups across regional Victoria and Melbourne working with high-growth potential ideas.
Through a series of Melbourne and rural workshops, an early-stage accelerator and incubator program, YGAP will aim to help entrepreneurs developing solutions which tackle the issues experienced by new migrants and refugees.
The startup will offer a educational workshops and programs in collaboration with institutions to help develop entrepreneurial skills and encourage networking.
Hatch Quarter is developing a “playbook” to help new migrants and refugees entrepreneurs, supporting them through meetups and networking.
A 12 week pre-accelerator and hackathon event which will run across regional areas including Geelong, Ballarat, Shepparton, Broadmeadows and Dandenoug. The initiative is targeting migrants and refugee entrepreneurs, helping them kickstart their idea through mentorship and skill training.
Image: LaunchVic third cohort. Source: LaunchVic Social Media.
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