La Trobe Accelerator Program graduates at ACMI

The third cohort of the La Trobe Accelerator Program pitched to an audience of almost 100 people at ACMI

11 entrepreneurs from the La Trobe Accelerator Program presented their start-ups at ACMI last week to mark the completion of the program. The teams spent twelve intense weeks last year developing their start-ups through workshops, mentoring, financial assistance and networking.

2018 was the third year that the program has been completed which has a focus on enhancing the capabilities of regional entrepreneurs. The 20 teams who completed the program were given access to a pool of $85,000. The program is not industry exclusive and has provided support to people in technical fields such as MedTech, AgriTech and SpaceTech as well as non-for-profits and small businesses. The La Trobe Accelerator Program was recognised for its efforts at the 2018 Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards by winning the Community Engagement Award.

The graduation, held at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne’s CBD, was attended by almost 100 guests from La Trobe University, industry partners and investors looking to fund the latest in innovation. The teams had 2 minutes to pitch and were presented by the program’s Director, Dr Cerasela Tanasescu. After the pitches were completed, guests were invited to the ACMI Cube where they viewed prototypes and learnt more about the start-up teams.

Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar opened the ceremony with guest speeches from Dr Kate Cornick, CEO, LaunchVic and Jeanette Cheah, Co-Founder, The Hacker Exchange.

“The La Trobe Accelerator Program has gone from strength to strength and gets better every year… the ideas are addressing areas of genuine need either in industry or in the community.” Professor John Dewar, Vice-Chancellor – La Trobe University.

LaunchVic was instrumental in the creation of the program with the initial investment delivered by the government organisation. The Accelerator Program continues to be supported by LaunchVic through co-hosting several events last year. The LaunchVic CEO, Dr Kate Cornick encouraged the entrepreneurs in the audience to continue to work hard even once the program was completed.

“Entrepreneurship is a muscle, it exists in every one of us and it’s up to us to exercise it.” Dr Kate Cornick, CEO – LaunchVic

A previous start-up itself, the Hacker Exchange works with universities to deliver educational experiences to entrepreneur hot-spots including Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv and Singapore. Recently the La Trobe Accelerator Program supported 4 places for winners of a Hackathon competition in Mildura on the Silicon Valley trip in December 2018. .

The La Trobe Accelerator Program will occur again in 2019 from August to December and is now accepting applications. The Program is open to all La Trobe staff, students and alumni with members of the community from regional Victoria also able to apply. Applications close 3 June.

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