The Victorian Government has announced almost $500,000 in funding to support the creation and growth of startups in regional Victoria.
Almost half the funding, $246,000, will go to Runway, a not-for-profit business based in Geelong and Ballarat which builds the capability of entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses.
Runway co-founder Nick Stanley said Geelong has established itself as a regional destination for startups and left a significant imprint on the local economy.
“Runway has generated over 400 jobs and more than $140 million in economic contribution to the state since it was founded,” he said.
The ‘pre-accelerator’ program will support 32 early-stage startup teams to develop their businesses.
“We encourage and want people to get in touch with us, even if it’s just an idea, we can help turn it into reality,” Mr Stanley said.
“All it takes is an idea and being brave and you can change the world.”
As part of the initiative participants will also have access to mentors, coaches, office space and prototyping facilities.
Runway lost their CEO, beloved colleague and friend Peter Dostis in tragic circumstances earlier this year, and Mr Stanley said they would continue to realise his dream.
“The Runway team are determined to honour Pete’s memory by continuing the vision that he and I both shared as co-founders; Runway is here for regional entrepreneurs – to support and cultivate the future businesses that drive our economy,” he said.
The funds will be administered by LaunchVic, the Victorian Government’s startup agency.
LaunchVic chief executive officer Dr Kate Cornick, said it is important that startups are setup for success.
“Having the right support mechanisms in place via quality pre-accelerators will put entrepreneurs on this path and help Victoria create the next generation of successful startups,” she said.
Deloitte Access Economics research found that Victoria’s early-stage startup sector revenue was $4.6 billion in 2019 and that the Victorian startup sector could add an extra 15,700 jobs to the Victorian economy every year for the next two decades.
Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford said the investment would support the next generation of regional entrepreneurs.
“Evidence tells us that young high-growth firms play a vital role in driving economic growth and jobs and we’re creating the conditions to create more startups across Victoria,” he said.