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LaunchVic opens funding round aimed at growing participation of Indigenous Australians in startups

LaunchVic, the Victorian Government’s independent startup funding body, has opened applications for its next round of grant funding, which will focus on improving access and participation in the startup community for Indigenous Australians.

Dr Kate Cornick, CEO of LaunchVic, said, “This a great chance to strengthen entrepreneurial culture among Aboriginal Victorians and foster a startup sector that reflects Victoria’s strengths in inclusivity and diversity.”

LaunchVic stated that the funding comes after its 2017 report mapping the state’s startup ecosystem showed Indigenous businesses are poorly represented; the 2011 Census, meanwhile, found the rate of entrepreneurship for non-Indigenous Australians was about three times more than that of Indigenous Australians.

The grants are part of the state government’s wider Tharamba Bugheen strategy, a $6.6 million package focused on improving the accessibility of business support for Indigenous Australians, improving the visibility and networks of Aboriginal businesses, and strengthening the entrepreneurial culture and business experience of Indigenous Australians.  

Kinaway, Victoria’s Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce, has received $750,000 in funding as part of the package.

The funding will help Kinaway establish partnerships connecting Aboriginal businesses to corporates, develop an advisory hub, an online business directory, and create new development programs.  

The LaunchVic funding round will join a growing number of initiatives in the startup ecosystem aimed at creating and growing more Indigenous-led startups; Queenslander Dean Foley has since 2016 been running a number of programs through Barayamal, while Indigenous Business Australia earlier this year teamed up with Investible to run an eight week accelerator program in Sydney.

The opening of the new round of grant funding for LaunchVic comes a few weeks after it announced $2.9 million in funding for a host of education programs.

Sixteen service providers took a share of the funding, which will see them offer up to 2,000 low-cost or free places for early-stage founders in various short courses and programs.

With just 15 percent of Victorian startups going through an accelerator program, the courses look to fill the gap that exists between early-stage founders who believe they’re not yet ready for an accelerator, and those whose needs have progressed past this structured, intensive support.

Among the providers receiving funding was Slingshot Accelerator, which will run B2B sales masterclasses to educating founders on processes, disciplines, and techniques to sell to business customers; Innovation Bay, which will look to help early-stage founders craft their pitch and understand the investment process; and Burch + Co Lawyers, which will help founders understand the basic legal considerations that come with running a startup.

“Supporting early-stage startups is essential if we are to grow a strong pipeline of innovative businesses from Victoria that will fuel the local economy,” Cornick said.

Image: Dr Kate Cornick. Source: Supplied.





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