LaunchVic unveils $5m in new grants

Denham Sadler
Senior Reporter

The Victorian Government has contributed a further $4.9 million in funding to seven local projects aimed at growing the startup and innovation sectors as part of the second round of LaunchVic grants.

LaunchVic, was created by the state government as an independent agency to oversee the allocation of its $60 million innovation fund. It has provided the cash to a range of projects including the first state-wide hackathon for girls, and a new innovation hub in the state’s south.

The Round Two grants will be announced by Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis, LaunchVic chair Ahmed Fahour and CEO Kate Cornick on Tuesday morning in Melbourne.

Of 300 applications, seven projects were selected to share in $4.9 million worth of grants, although each could receive up to $1 million. All the grants are matched with cash or in-kind investments from other sources.

Mr Dalidakis says the overall aim is to nurture a world-leading startup ecosystem in Victoria.

“The calibre of programs funded through LaunchVic is a great example of why Victoria is fast becoming the location of choice for startups and tech business investment across the Asia Pacific,” Mr Dalidakis says.

“These are the programs that will help young companies and ideas develop to create jobs and industries that will support our state for decades to come.”

It follows the first round of funding unveiled in August last year that saw $6.5 million handed to 18 projects.

In contrast to the policies of several other state governments, where individual startups or organisations receive public funding, Victoria has focused on providing cash to projects or initiatives that aim to develop the wider community.

“LaunchVic works together with the entrepreneurial sector to drive solutions that will transfer startups to future businesses,” Ms Cornick says.

“We will invest and partner in ideas, expertise and infrastructure to grow Victoria’s thriving startup ecosystem.”

Grant recipients for this round include Sydney-based accelerator program Startmate, which will be using the funding to run a two-year program in Victoria for 16 startups along with a regional tour, and Girl Geek Academy, which will be bringing the SheHacks program to the state.

Co-working space ACMI X also received cash to expand into a “creative tech laboratory” while Outcome.Life will focus on attracting and retaining international student grads in Victoria.

Similar to the first round, the focus is clearly on the regional development of the innovation ecosystem, with several of the winners looking at outside of Melbourne, such as the Frankston Foundry, which will be creating a regional innovation hub in the area.

Seeva has also received funding to run an innovation hub and incubator focusing on the disability and health sectors, while a three-day event and regional roadshow for education startups will be run by Education Changemakers.

This announcement only includes grant recipients receiving up to $1 million, with larger projects to be revealed “in the coming weeks”.

“We are excited to unveil even more ground-breaking projects in the coming weeks, which will highlight the growing international attention that Victoria is the place to be to grow future business,” Ms Cornick says.

The round 2 grant winners are the product of “extensive consultation” that LaunchVic has completed with the Victorian startup community, Ms Cornick told late last year.

“We want to really figure out where we should be focusing and make sure we’re spending and investing in the biggest and brightest ideas that are really going to set Melbourne and Victoria apart,” she said.

“I want to really amplify the fact that Victoria is a world-class ecosystem and is attracting the very best talent.”

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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