The new chief executive of Startup Victoria isn’t starting until next month, but Judy Anderson already has her plans laid out, and they don’t involve Victoria resting on its laurels in its bid to be Australia’s startup state.
Anderson tells StartupSmart in her first 100 days as chief executive, she plans to immerse herself in the community and talk to Startup Victoria members to figure out “what are the things we’re doing really well, and where we could improve”.
Her focus is on creating “not just better founders but better businesses” and working on how to “create prosperous businesses and not just individuals”.
And she’s well-placed to do this. For the past eight years, at Inventium and the Awesome Foundation, Anderson has worked with ASX 100 companies, trying to to get clients to “think like a startup”, applying the innovative and creative culture of the startup world to companies that have already scaled.
At Startup Victoria, Anderson fills a role left vacant by Georgia Beattie, who left the not-for-profit organisation to join Australian property advertising company REA Group to head up its co-working directory startup Spacely earlier this year.
“I have a whole wealth of experience in achieving innovation at scale, engaging a community of people, and getting them excited about wanting to be entrepreneurs and to be innovative when that’s quite hard,” says Anderson.
But, she says she knew she would always come back to the startup space proper, “with tools that could actually create an impact in that space”.
In her role at Startup Victoria, Anderson is also planning to focus on collaboration within the state, figuring out the “partnerships that make sense … helping to create Victoria as the go-to startup state in Australia”.
“[Victoria] does have quite a good reputation, but we need to keep working hard to maintain that level of support,” she says. “We shouldn’t take that for granted.”
“Others places are doing awesome work too, and we want to keep playing at that level,” she adds.
Anderson also has experience in owning and running startups. She knows the struggles that founders face and empathises with them, “given that I was one”.
In fact, she always thought her re-entry to the startup world would be as a founder herself.
“You can’t kill that entrepreneurial spirit,” she says.
“I wanted to create impact, solve problems and create solutions that can scale.”
However, as chief executive of Startup Victoria, she may have found a higher calling.
“I started to realise that the best way to have that impact is to apply everything I have learnt and everything I know, to help others — which is where my skill set is.”
“I’ve definitely landed in the most impactful and influential thing I can do,” she says.