The Victorian government’s $60 million innovation fund has dished out $1.37 million to four programs looking to “strengthen entrepreneurship and startup activity” amongst indigenous Victorians.
LaunchVic has now handed out about $18 million this year in the lead-up to the November state election, where its future remains unclear.
The latest funding round aims to encourage and assist indigenous Victorians launch and grow their own tech companies.
It is part of the state’s wider plans to support indigenous-led businesses and entrepreneurs, according to Aboriginal affairs minister Natalie Hutchins said.
“We’re boosting the economic prosperity of Aboriginal Victorians by supporting entrepreneurship and business leadership and mandating a government procurement target for Aboriginal Victorian enterprises,” Ms Hutchins said.
Successful recipients include RMIT University, which has received $110,000 for its Ngamai Moorroop Wilin program, involving a cohort of entrepreneurs working with Aboriginal enterprises through regular meetups in Melbourne and in regional Victoria.
Australia’s first indigenous-focused startup accelerator Barayamal received the largest grant, with $500,000 going towards a pre-accelerator and accelerator program for Aboriginal Victorians, culminating with a national pitch event.
Global Sisters, which provides women with resources to take an idea and turn it into a company, has received $268,000 to work with Aboriginal community partners to hold a “tailored and responsive business incubation program” focusing on disruptive online markets in Echuca, Shepparton and Wodonga.
Project Ngarrimili, a partnership between Strong Brother and Strong Sister and Impact Co has scored $492,500 to run three different programs: workshops to encourage Indigenous Victorians to pursue entrepreneurship, workshops for pre-revenue companies and an incubator for Aboriginal-led ventures.
According to un-released LaunchVic data, indigenous Australians make up 2 per cent of the state’s startup founder while representing only 1 per cent of the state’s population, something which LaunchVic chief executive Kate Cornick said “reinforces the potential for programs of this nature”.
“We’re thrilled to be supporting the selected organisations and anticipate the programs will support Aboriginal entrepreneurs in Victoria to continue to go from strength to strength,” Dr Cornick said.
It’s been a busy year for LaunchVic following a troubled 2017, with nearly $18 million invested or promised to the state’s tech and startup sectors.
This includes $7 million to accelerator programs, $2.35 million for investor education schemes, $2.4 million for local governments and $2.9 million for founder education services.