Startup News & Analysis

UK government’s Tech Rocketship startup competition comes to Australia for the first time

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien /

Tech Rocketship Awards

UK Minister for Investment Graham Stuart. Source: Supplied.

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) is on the hunt for Australian startups to whisk away on a Great British tour, opening its Tech Rocketship Awards to Australian startups for the first time.

The awards seek out international startups and bring them to the UK to build a local presence, helping them grow internationally while also bringing business to the UK ecosystem.

Previously, the competition has only run in India, with 40 winners travelling to the UK over the past five years. After the Australia and New Zealand program is launched the competition may be rolled out to additional regions, although this has not been confirmed.

Applicants should be relatively established and ready to embark on a journey of international expansion, and offer innovative and technology-led solutions in one of eight industry categories.

The categories cover a broad spectrum of technologies, including digital security; artificial intelligence and data; the future of mobility; and connecting consumers and creativity.

There are also categories focused on social change, seeking startups producing tech for an ageing society, clean growth, and feeding the nation.

Finally, a ‘great tech for change’ award is available for a startup making an impact on the community, whether that’s through making technology more accessible, creating tangible social change or championing diversity in the tech ecosystem.

Each category winner will be invited on a trip to the UK to take part in a curated program of events, meeting potential partners and venture capital firms, while being introduced to a network of contacts to help launch or develop their operations in the UK and internationally.

Announcing the awards in Melbourne on Monday, UK Minister for Investment Graham Stuart said the competition represents an opportunity for startups to “turbocharge their global expansion”.

The trip will help winners “expand your networks, secure new customers and explore investment and funding opportunities”, Stuart said.

In a statement, Michael Ward, British consul general and director general of the UK DIT said the UK is “the perfect place for determined, ambitious tech companies to scale globally”.

“With support from our teams on the ground in Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland and Brisbane, we’re already seeing a strong increase in the number of innovative Australian and New Zealand tech-led companies achieving real success in the UK,” Ward added.

Applications for the Tech Rocketship Awards are open until 23 November 2018.

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Stephanie Palmer-Derrien

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien is a reporter at StartupSmart.

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