LaunchVic has put $6.5 million into a range of start-up incubator and accelerator programs in Victoria as part of its first round of grants.
The state government said that 18 “ideas” – big and small – would receive first round funding ranging from $30,000 up to $1.25 million.
The biggest individual winner is Runway, a “major start-up initiative in Geelong will act as a catalyst for innovation in the region.”
“Its objective is to launch a start-up culture in Geelong that will establish the city as a global centre for innovation and entrepreneurship,” LaunchVic said.
By contrast, the smallest grant was awarded to Fintech Melbourne, “a community run organisation for the benefit of the Victorian fintech community.”
One aspect of the $6.5 million funding is it has been targeted at programs that appeal to a number of start-up niches: taken together, they represent a broad swathe of the likely start-up community.
For example, the Lemonade Stand entrepreneurship program received $100,000 in government funding; it is for 9-12 year olds with start-up ambitions.
The Young Entrepreneurs Mentoring Scheme separately targets those aged 15-30, while the Fifth Institute landed $200,000 to encourage the emergence of “seniorpreneurs” – which it classes as “those aged 50 or over”.
Other funded programs target start-up cultivation in specific vertical sectors, including sports, agricultural technology and financial technology, or specialist domains such as cybersecurity.
In addition, the funds also stretch to the Startupbootcamp accelerator network, which will use its $600,000 “to develop and scale start-ups in the fields of Internet of Things (IoT) and data tech.”
“With a planned launch in 2017, Startupbootcamp will be inviting Asia-Pacific’s best IoT and data start-ups to come to Melbourne to join and boost the local ecosystem,” it said.
“Startupbootcamp accelerator programs offer startups access to a global investor and mentor network, which will encourage overseas corporations to look to Melbourne for IoT and data solutions.”
“We want Victoria to be the location of choice for startups across the Asia Pacific Region and LaunchVic is making it happen,” Victoria’s Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, Philip Dalidakis said.
“These projects will help young companies and ideas develop to create jobs and industries that will support Victoria for decades to come.”
Dalidakis said that around 8000 new businesses were created in the state in the last year alone.
“We need to ensure the right support is in place to help them thrive,” he said.
Programs like LaunchVic come as Australian cities increasingly struggle to compete internationally as hubs for start-up growth. Melbourne crashed out of CrunchBase’s top 20 cities globally last year, and the state government hopes to arrest that decline.
The state government said it would open a second round of funding for LaunchVic next month.
It is also wanting to scale up the LaunchVic operation, this week appointing Dr Kate Cornick as LaunchVic’s new CEO.
“With LaunchVic now firmly established, the time is right for a CEO who comes from within the start-up sector to lead the entity into its next phase,” LaunchVic chair Ahmed Fahour said.