Australia Post Regional Pitchfest has revealed the lineup of entrepreneurs from Australia that will have the chance to pitch their ideas on stage for a share in $100,000 worth of prizes to help further the development of their business.
Five startups selected from each Australian state and territory will now go on to work with Pitchfest’s network of mentors to prepare their pitch over the next month for their panel of judges.
Each startup will then take to the stage in their home state across June and July, with the winner from each territory heading to the national final in Wagga Wagga in August.
Pitchfest was founded by Wagga Wagga entrepreneur Dianna Somerville last year to “unearth the next big business idea from regional Australia”.
Branching out across Australia with the support of Australia Post and in partnership with the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Accelerator program (MAP), this year’s series of events looks to build on last year’s success.
Australia Post’s Chief Innovation Officer, Greg Sutherland, said the company is excited to discover the innovative ideas across regional Australia, adding that Pitchfest would be what many entrepreneurs need to help kick their ideas off the ground.
“The exciting thing about rural and regional businesses today is that they can be born locally but go global with the power of eCommerce. Sometimes all you need is that helping hand to get your idea off the ground, so I can’t wait to meet our finalists and see what they have on offer,” he said.
Sutherland will serve as a judge at most of the state events, and will be joined by MAP director Rohan Workman and at least three other successful Australian entrepreneurs.
Springboard Enterprise Australia’s CEO Julie Demsey and The Content Folk cofounder Nicole Kersh will join the NSW panel, while Startup Muster cofounder Monica Wulff and Managing Director of Startup Adelaide Jenny Vandyke will sit on the South Australian panel. Judging in Queensland’s will be investor Steve Baxter, who said he is excited to see the “creative” ideas coming out of Pitchfest.
“The thing about living rurally and regionally is that you have to think outside the square to come up with great solutions to problems,” said Baxter.
Australia Post’s General Manager for Small Business, Rebecca Burrows, said it will be a “tough choice” for the judges when the finalists hit the stage.
“This is the first national Australia Post Regional Pitchfest and we are thrilled with the calibre of finalists who are going through to the next stage. The ideas and innovation across technology, products and services reinforces the strength and resourcefulness of regional Australians in finding solutions to everyday problems,” she said.
The finalist pool has shaped up to be quite diverse – amongst them in NSW is the winner of the first event, young high school student Michael Nixon and his 3D printing edutech startup EduKits, while Victoria boasts online ‘fashion profile’ startup Your Style Revolution and its founder Anika Nangiloc.
The full list of finalists from each state are:
New South Wales
Andrew Stevens – Agtribe
Olivia Skellern – Coach Me If You Can
Michael Nixon – EduKits Australia
Luke De Bono – Elite Robotics
Lochie Burke – JAR Aerospace Pty Ltd
Sebastian Harrison – OzGuild
Roz Wallace – Wildlife Drones Pty Ltd
Liam Osawa – CareerMaps
Samantha White – Practically Perfect Portions Cakes in a Jar
Fiona McFarlane – cherrygift
Paul Aubin – BOG OUT
Charlotte Williamson – DogSlim
David Crane – SiteSee
Anne Marie – Ipswich Wantu
Fiona Park – Emmaretta
Kendra Harding – Ooroo Australia
Devan Sabaratnam – HR Partner
Maggie McGowan – Magpie Goose
Robbie Henderson – The Nakau Programme
Selena Woodward – Edufolios
Melissa Little – VENYU
Bryce Eldredge – The Rural Network
Eddie Blass – The Inventorium Pty Ltd
Sally Lydia – OrganiQ
Anna Yip – Off the Table
John Hyslop – Deviant Distillery
Bronwyn Kidd – Sustomi
Brian Stafford – WheelieSafe Pty Ltd
Ben Whale Kingston – Nunle
Julie O’Donohue – Next Address Pty Ltd
James Baird – Localised
Raigan Howard – Hello Hurricane Foundation
Phebe Corey – Physio Phebe
Anika Walker – Your Style Revolution
Angela del Pino – Delpino’s Ethical Department Store
Tim Hayes – The Box
Paula Pownall – Grubs up Australia
Hayley Wells – Illegal Tender Rum Co.
Jeremy Hurst – SpacetoCo
Image: Rebecca Burrows & Dianna Somerville. Source: Supplied.