Mildura startup scores top prize in La Trobe Accelerator Program

Natural Approach Founder, Tracey Hickmott, has taken out first prize in the La Trobe Accelerator Program, scoring $10,000 to use towards her business.

From Eco-friendly (biodegradable) disposable nappies to an AI enabled workplace safety solution, 21 startups have now completed the 2019 cohort of the La Trobe Accelerator Program.  The program concluded its 2019 cohort with a big celebration last week. The event took place at K&L Gates LLP in Melbourne CBD and was joined by over 90 guests. The program’s cohort of 21 startups completed their 12-weeks journey, of which 9 received seed funding of upto $10,000.

Tracey, of Natural Approach, says she is still pinching herself that she took out first prize.

“Thank you to the La Trobe Accelerator program.  What an amazing journey it has been. I'm feeling very grateful to be part of a program that enables connection, growth and supports regional communities.

“If you have an idea and are not sure how to take it to the next level, or just want to scale and grow your business and connect with those who have the knowledge and expertise, I highly recommend you check out and apply for the La Trobe Accelerator program in 2020!” Tracey says.

Cohort 4 began in early September 2019 and consisted of a diverse group of up-and-coming entrepreneurs from across Victoria. The program has delivered an intensive 12-week experience to the participating entrepreneurs. It has taken them through a learning pathway cantered around series of workshops, coaching and mentoring sessions to accelerate their growth.

Since 2017, the La Trobe Accelerator Program has accelerated 57 startups of which 27 are from regional Victoria and has awarded over $280,000 worth seed funding

This year’s mentors and coaches included experienced entrepreneurs, industry experts, and investors from across the state, such Dr Marcus Powe from the Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship, Mr Miguel Wood, CEO, Data Dragon; Mr Grant Downie, Principal, InnovAction; Mr Duncan Wallace, CEO, Optimal Progress Pty Ltd; Mr Abhay Seth, Director, Singtel Innov8 Australia; Dr Kaushik Sridhar from Regis Aged Care and Mr Julien Morel Executive Director of ESSEC Ventures.

“This is a very exciting time for our start-ups, and we look forward to seeing your growth and watching how you will invest this money wisely with your business. This program would not have been made possible without the support of our many supporters and industry partners, to all of our coaches, mentors, investors, consultants, community members, start-ups and staff! It takes many hands to make this possible,” said Dr Cerasela Tanasescu, Director, La Trobe Accelerator Program.

In 2019, the La Trobe Accelerator Program delivered 14 workshops equalling over 100 hours of face to face and online engagement. Plus, over 200 hours of coaching was provided to all startups.