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Applications have opened for the 2017 Australia Post Regional Pitchfest, which will give startups and small business owners across regional Australia a chance to pitch for a share in a $100,000 prize pool to help fuel their business idea.

To apply to take part, participants submit short video applications outlining their business idea. Each chosen finalist will be then be guided by mentors through an informative workshop before pitching at a finals event to be held in their state or territory across June and July.

The winners will then head to the national gala event in Wagga Wagga in August, where they will pitch for the top prizes, including a trip to Silicon Valley with the University of Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP).

The 2017 Australia Post Regional Pitchfest will look to build on the events held over the last year, which was founded by entrepreneur Dianna Somerville in Wagga Wagga last June as a way to give regional communities a platform to showcase their business ideas.

Rebecca Burrows, Australia Post’s General Manager for Small Business, said the festival will help support the increasing number of entrepreneurs popping up in regional areas, a trend she accounted to the rise of ecommerce thanks to the strengthened connectivity in regional areas.

“Ecommerce is providing the opportunity for any Australian entrepreneur and small business, no matter where they are located, to reach customers globally. We’re genuinely committed to helping all small businesses thrive, wherever they are,” said Burrows.

“We know there are amazing innovators throughout regional Australia, which is why we are launching the Australia Post Regional Pitchfest.”

Somerville said she’s excited to see the festival expanding beyond its Wagga Wagga roots to provide the rest of regional Australia a platform from which to launch their “great and innovative” ideas.

“I keep pinching myself every day that just eight months later, thanks to the incredible support of Australia Post, people from all regional communities across Australia will now get this same amazing opportunity,” she said.

The first event in Wagga Wagga saw local talent pitching for share in $10,000 to help grow their business, with first prize going to thirteen-year old entrepreneur Michael Nixon and his 3D printing edutech startup, EduKits.

“The first ever winner was a 13 year old high school student, so it’s okay if your idea is not yet a business and you don’t need an Master of Business Administration to enter, just a great idea and the ability to sell it,” said Burrows.

“Australia Post Regional Pitchfest is all about unearthing the next big business idea from regional Australia.”

The state and territory finals will be held in Toowoomba, Darwin, Bunbury, McLaren Vale, Ballarat, Dubbo, Canberra, and Launceston.

You can find more about Regional Pitchfest here.

Image: Rebecca Burrows & Dianna Somerville. Source: Supplied.

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