Wednesday, 20 April 2016 19:36

Microsoft, Govt combine to bring startup accelerator MassChallenge to Australia

By
Christopher Pyne, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science

Microsoft is partnering with the Federal Government to bring high profile start-up accelerator MassChallenge to Australia, with the government announcing it will contribute $280,000 to the project as part of its national innovation agenda.

The venture will see MassChallenge help to strengthen Australia’s startup ecosystem through idea-pitching competitions, startup boot camps and local and international mentoring.

The Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne, announced the funding on Wednesday during a visit to the Microsoft Innovation Centre in Adelaide, where he participated in a demonstration of three startups with local connections – Makers Empire and Teamgage and Buddy, established by an Adelaide ex-pat in the US which has recently relocated its engineering capacity to Adelaide.

“The products on show here today would not have been developed without the support of organisations like MassChallenge,” Minister Pyne said. “Accelerators are an important component of the ecosystem and boost the skills of participating startups through training, mentoring and exposure to investor networks.

“MassChallenge, a non-profit that takes no equity in the start-ups, has a proven model that has graduated 835 alumni since 2010, raised $1.1 billion in funding, generated over $520 million in revenue and created 6,500 jobs.

“That is the kind of opportunity we want to create for startups here in Australia whilst also helping upskill the Australia innovation ecosystem.

“The project also brings with it a strong international connection with startup ecosystems from Boston, London and Israel, ensuring a network of international connectivity and promotion of Australia as a global entrepreneurial hub.”

Microsoft Australia managing director Pip Marlow congratulated the Government on the initiative. “Microsoft Australia is delighted to be the founding partner for MassChallenge in Australia. This announcement continues a long association between MassChallenge and Microsoft globally, and is a further step in our ‘Joined-Up Innovation’ campaign to help build a stronger innovation ecosystem in Australia.”

MassChallenge senior director global partnerships Kara Shurmantine said the company would “work to connect entrepreneurs and the wider ecosystem with our global network across the US, Europe, Israel, Latin America, and beyond”.

“This allows us to gain a valuable connection to the thriving startup scene in Australia and we’re looking forward to working with key players here to exchange best practices and help the ecosystem to flourish.”

Minister Pyne said the Government’s $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda recognised the importance of startups to Australia as value creators and job creators.

“NISA is encouraging investment in startups via tax breaks and easier access to more diverse funding options through new laws that enable crowd-sourced equity funding. We are committed to establishing Australia as a leading nation in innovation and want to help businesses embrace risk and incentivise early stage investment in startups.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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