Searching for South West Victoria's next entrepreneurs

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The South West region is on the search for its next generation of entrepreneurs with the support of a $275,000 LaunchVic grant. Aspiring South West entrepreneurs can join a fully funded pre-accelerator program that will provide expert guidance in bringing their innovative ideas to market.

The program is a partnership between the Warrnambool City, Moyne Shire and Corangamite Shire Councils, South West TAFE, Food and Fibre Great South Coast, and ManuFutures Deakin University. Warrnambool, Corangamite and Moyne Shire's collaborative application was one of only four regional locations to receive funding.

Program participants will join Deakin University's highly successful Ignite pre-accelerator program. Ignite is a one of many new incubator programs offered through Deakin University's ManuFutures, an advanced manufacturing hub supporting regional businesses to improve competitiveness and create new market opportunities. The first intake of Ignite participants will be in early 2023 at Deakin's Warrnambool Campus.

The program consists of workshops, seminars and presentations from industry leaders and past and current successful entrepreneurs. Those participating will find out how to take their business innovation or entrepreneurial idea and turn it into a start-up business. All ideas, no matter what industry sector or type will be supported to develop and scale up new products and operations.

LaunchVic is Victoria's start-up agency and the program is targeting regional areas because only 3 per cent of start-ups are based in regional Victoria, despite being 25 per cent of Victoria's population. LaunchVic CEO Dr Kate Cornick explained how the latest funding would be crucial in addressing these statistics:

"Connecting entrepreneurs in Victoria's regions with innovators and other like-minded people is vitally important to build a strong culture of startup creation. This funding round is focused on supporting the growth of Victoria's regional startup sector and giving people the support to grow tech startups – no matter where they live in the State."

Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford noted that regional startups had an exciting role to play in the State's growth story:

"Regional startups have an immense potential to contribute to Victoria's early-stage innovation ecosystem and economy, which has doubled in value in the past year to $23.6 billion.

Prospective participants will be able to lodge an expression in the coming weeks. In the meantime, updates will be published at

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