LaunchVic has revealed its first funding round of the year as the agency begins discussions with the Victorian government for further funding of its own.
The organisation’s tenth funding round, dubbed “Round X”, offers a markedly different direction for the independent government body tasked with deploying the state’s $60 million innovation fund.
While previous rounds have focused on very specific, targeted aspects of the sector, such as accelerator programs or educational resources, the latest round is entirely open, with no specific focus.
“Consultation with the community led us to opening this round. We have now done a number of grant rounds that have been very targeted, and that came out of consultation in 2017 to address gaps in the sector,” LaunchVic CEO Kate Cornick told InnovationAus.com.
“There were exceptional ideas and programs that didn’t fit into the narrow funding rounds that deserve to be considered, and we don’t want to miss out on those opportunities.”
LaunchVic is offering grants of up to $250,000 as part of the funding round, which will be worth a total of $2 million.
It’s the first LaunchVic funding round under new state innovation minister Martin Pakula, who replaced Philip Dalidakis, the former minister responsible for establishing the agency, as part of a post-election cabinet reshuffle.
Excluding the latest funding round, LaunchVic has confirmed that it has deployed $38 million in grants across Victoria, with its funding agreement with the state government coming to an end in June this year.
Dr Cornick said she is currently in discussions with the government to secure further funding for LaunchVic.
“We’ve got a new minister who is very supportive of LaunchVic and we look forward to working with him. We are going through a process at the moment with government around our future funding, but it’s also business as usual. We certainly see the same level of support now from the government for our work,” she said.
By the end of the last financial year, LaunchVic had contributed $26.5 million in grants and other efforts, such as sponsorships and commissioned activities. In the second half of last year, the agency ramped things up and deployed nearly $12 million through funding rounds.
According to its financial report late last year, the organisation has a funding agreement with the state department to June this year worth a total of $53,700,824.
While not commenting on the future funding for LaunchVic, Mr Pakula said the government is committed to supporting the sector.
“We’re proud to support today’s entrepreneurs and startups to become the innovative, high-growth companies of tomorrow. LaunchVic has just opened its tenth funding round open to new initiatives and ideas that will strengthen diversity and inclusion, and drive capability and excellence,” Mr Pakula said in a statement.