SA Government pours $600,000 into Innovyz program

The South Australian Government has poured $600,000 into the ANZ Innovyz START program, in what could be an attempt to restore its reputation among the state’s start-up community.


The ANZ Innovyz START program, a start-up accelerator scheme modelled on US-based incubator TechStars, kicked off in Adelaide in February.


The three-month program, launched by Innovyz and ANZ, is part of the Global Accelerator Network. It is the first accelerator in Australia to be based upon the TechStars format.


Innovyz aims to equip promising start-ups with the tools and strategies to make them ready for investors, who are introduced to them on the final day of the program.


In return for an 8% equity stake per founder, for up to three founders, each of the founders receives $6,000 to help with the cost of establishing themselves.


The program is led by US business guru Dr Jana Matthews, who has moved to Adelaide to work on the project full-time.


In May, 10 companies were chosen as the program’s first participants from a pool of more than 130 companies, highlighting the huge demand for a program of this nature.


Now the program has received a $600,000 boost from the SA Government. The announced was made by Tom Koutsantonis, Minister for Small Business, Manufacturing, Innovation and Trade.


Koutsantonis could not be reached for comment. However, Innovyz chairman Philip Vafiadis says the funding recognises the relevance of the Innovyz program.


“My partners… and I recognised the need for a program that would accelerate business growth [and] would be recognised as globally relevant,” Vafiadis says.


“All the elements exist in Adelaide to build a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, and our ANZ Innovyz START program is already receiving global recognition for best practice.”


“This timely support from government is of course welcomed, and will help us achieve our mission.”


Matthews, who has studied the entrepreneurial landscape in Adelaide over a period of 10 years, likens Adelaide to US innovation centres such as Boulder and Seattle.


“I agreed to design and direct ANZ Innovyz START because I believe Adelaide is on the cusp of growth,” Matthews says.


“The city has the elements required to be a thriving entrepreneurial community… Support from ANZ has enabled us to create a successful program.”


“Funds from the Department of Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy will enable us to create the space.”


“We look forward to partnering with others and securing additional sponsors to join us in the development of this healthy, robust ecosystem in South Australia.”


Michael Dilettoso, chairman of Adelaide-based investor group SA Angels, told StartupSmart last month the government has done little to improve the state’s innovation and investment sector.


“They pulled funding and started the winding down process of Playford Capital, which would invest in early stage companies, and help entrepreneurs and start-ups looking to attract funding, commercialise and grow,” he said.


“They’ve also closed business centres that provide important educational components for small businesses to up-skill themselves.”


Dilettoso said the government needs to “build infrastructure around entrepreneurs that have the skills to build those fledgling businesses that are in sectors that will attract investment”.


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