Written on the 21 April 2016


ONE of the world's top startup accelerators is heading to Australia to help local startup entrepreneurs expand and grow their businesses.

MassChallenge has partnered with the Australian Government and Microsoft Australia to strengthen the nation's startup ecosystem through idea-pitching competitions, startup boot camps and local and international mentoring.

During his visit to the Microsoft Innovation Centre in Adelaide, the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne announced $280,000 in funding to lure MassChallenge to Australia.

"Accelerators are an important component of the ecosystem and boost the skills of participating startups through training, mentoring and exposure to investor networks," says Pyne.

MassChallenge is a non-profit that takes no equity in the startups it assists.  It has a model that has graduated 835 alumni since 2010, raised $1.1 billion in funding, generated over $520 million in revenue and created 6500 jobs.

"That is the kind of opportunity we want to create for start-ups here in Australia while also helping upskill the Australia innovation ecosystem," says Pyne.

"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," says Marlow.

"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.

"Along with the Australian Government and Microsoft, MassChallenge is excited to support the highest-impact entrepreneurs in Australia to help boost the innovation economy across the country.

Kara Shurmantine, senior director of global partnerships at MassChallenge, says the partnership will work to connect Australian entrepreneurs and the wider ecosystem with its global network across the U.S., Europe, Israel and Latin America.

"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," says Shurmantine.

Pyne says the Government's $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) 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," he says.

"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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