LaunchVic unveils $2.9 million in funding to further educate and upskill Victorian startup founders


Square Peg Capital co-founder and investor Paul Bassat, and LaunchVic chief executive Kate Cornick. Source: Supplied.

The Victorian government’s startup support body LaunchVic has announced a swathe of funding for supporting startup founders in the state, dedicating $2.9 million towards better educating founders and entrepreneurs across a range of topics.

Taken from the state’s $60 million innovation fund, which LaunchVic administers, the $2.9 million will be dished out to 16 different service providers to run education programs for over 2000 Victorian startup founders and their staff.

Some of these providers include Slingshot Accelerator, Cogent, Onestack, and Innovation Bay, who will be providing an array of workshops, mentoring, and week-long programs to founders either for free or for a low cost.

LaunchVic chief executive Kate Cornick told StartupSmart the government body had long been aware of the number of founders in Victoria in need of upskilling, with just 15% of them currently going through an accelerator program where diverse skills training is regularly on offer.

“Founders don’t always want to go through an accelerator, or sometimes they just don’t have the time,” Cornick says.

So instead, the chosen service providers will educate founders on skills such as how to pitch to venture capitalists, support on corporate governance, marketing, exports, forming partnerships, and leadership of small and large teams. She calls the system a “compartmentalised accelerator”, with founders being able to pick and choose the areas they want to be upskilled in.

“One of the biggest areas we see startups struggle with is how to get investment or other avenues to find money for their business. For early stage companies, finding capital is a huge part of your work, and we want to ensure more startups are getting capital and are able to grow,” Cornick says.

“Founders are finding it very difficult to connect into investor networks, and a lot of investors say most startups simply aren’t investment ready. We want to give them the right info at hand to change that.

“Startup founders need the opportunity to grow their skillset in a timeframe that matches the growth of their company.”

Victorian Minister for Innovation and the Digital Economy Philip Dalidakis said in a statement the support makes Victoria an increasingly alluring location to start a new venture.

“With this targeted funding and support, there’s never been a better time to establish a startup in Victoria. By building a stronger startup sector we create innovative businesses, attract international talent, bring money into the local economy and create local jobs.”

Broadly, LaunchVic is continuing to develop ways to further the Victorian startup ecosystem, including through its sixth round of funding which closes tomorrow and is being dedicated to local councils looking at supporting startups. Cornick also says LaunchVic has announcements in the works focused on aiding health-focused startups in Victoria, a sector she says is one of the state’s strengths.

“It’s an incredibly exciting sector that’s growing at a rapid rate, with a flourishing community. We’re seeing more and more startups starting to scale, and a number of scaling startups in areas such as health and wellbeing,” she says.

“One in five Victorian startups are focused on health in a broad sense, and it’s a real core strength for Victoria.”

NOW READ: Everything startup founders need to know about finding and keeping a mentor


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