City of Melbourne helps startups get Asia-ready

City of Melbourne has engaged an innovation and education company to help local startups accelerate their growth in south-east Asia.

Sally Capp

Council will sponsor 20 companies chosen via an open selection process to participate in a five-day workshop where they’ll be able to connect with overseas investors, accelerators and founders in Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Participating companies represent a range of sectors including crypto, data analytics, finance and fashion, with products including AI insights, mental health platforms, pet food, Indigenous fashion and urban analytics.

The program, designed and run by Melbourne-bashed ed-tech company HEX, will enable participants to connect at City of Melbourne innovation precincts and be introduced to international industry players, City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp says.

She says Council hopes engagement with south-east Asia will contribute to the city’s economic recovery and boost Melbourne’s reputation as an innovation city.

“I hope our local talent really immerse themselves in the experience of hearing from south-east Asia’s top founders and speakers and connecting with government, universities and fellow startups,” she said.

International marketing opportunities

HEX CEO and founder Jeanette Cheah says the south-east Asian innovation ecosystem has huge growth potential and market opportunities for local entrepreneurs.

Jeanette Cheah

She says the workshop will help participants learn about tapping into emerging markets, trends and funding opportunities in the regional backyard.

“It involves everything from making connections with people overseas as well as bringing in speakers to talk about understanding how their company could start in Vietnam or Indonesia. We’ll also be doing a workshop on our own,” she told Government News.

“City of Melbourne has a really strong relationship with south-east Asia we want to see great companies starting in Melbourne and having global aspirations from day one.”

Ms Cheah says local government can play a key role in supporting local innovation.

“Local government’s got a really great opportunity to help grow the local economy and the broader economy through startups,” she said.

“It’s a great space to showcase innovation, it’s a great place to increase diversity. It’s also a really great potential job creator for local council.”

This the second time HEX has partnered with City of Melbourne on an innovation program, after running a week long program for students in 2019.

The program begins on February 21.

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