VU's Peter Dawkins and Steve Berridge with members of VU Innovation and Start-up Victoria

Victoria University has joined forced with Startup Victoria to stimulate and enrich the startup ecosystem in Victoria. 

Both organisations have a clear focus on ensuring the entrepreneurial spirit is as healthy as possible, and that startups have the support they need to succeed in an ever-changing environment.

The partnership is a first for both, as Startup Vic seeks to scale its influence and support, and Victoria University drives a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovative education models.

The partnership will launch several projects in 2019, in particular, FOUND, joint research into Victoria’s startup founder community.

Each year, FOUND will unearth the reality of founding rapid-growth, globally-focused startup businesses in Victoria. It will profile members of Victoria's founder community, capturing previously hidden truths about the challenges faced by an increasingly diverse — and dispersed — cohort of founders. FOUND will unveil the hidden figures that frame the startup experience, and in turn help guide policy decisions to benefit the industry.

"Many reports benchmark the startup ecosystem and its growth. We want to get to the bottom of what the real granular pain-points are for startup founders and then solve them in partnership with industry and policy makers," said Startup Victoria CEO Judy Anderson.

VU Vice-Chancellor Peter Dawkins said “we hope that sharing these personal stories will inspire policymakers, as well as those in education and service provision, to better support our complex and creative founder community both now and into the future.”

A genuine snapshot

The goal of FOUND is to provide an honest reading of the current state of the founder ecosystem in Victoria.

FOUND will inform, inspire and support the growth and maturation of entrepreneurship across Victoria, particularly for first-generation and migrant founders, and those in the western suburbs of Melbourne by shining a spotlight on real stories of founder successes, challenges and needs.

By providing state-wide insights into the nature, challenges, and strengths of the Victorian founder community, "FOUND will empower both the public and private sectors to make strategic decisions that will truly help our diverse founder-base to achieve global success sooner,” said Ms Anderson.

Spotlighting founder stories

Each year, FOUND will profile individual founders, exposing in detail the experiences of those who set out to disrupt global markets in myriad ways from spare rooms, home offices and co-working spaces across our state. It will also provide previously unavailable state-wide insights into the unique challenges faced by Victorian entrepreneurs.

“FOUND will give founders from Mildura to Mallacoota the chance to have their voices heard, and to drive the future of a more supportive, successful startup ecosystem in Victoria,” added Vice-Chancellor Dawkins.

Get involved

Founders of startups with rapid-growth objectives are invited to complete a pre-qualifying survey by visiting at the FOUND website. Over the coming months, VU researchers will conduct one-on-one interviews with founder candidates to start gathering insights.

Startup mentors, investors, accelerators and support services like co-working providers are encouraged to invite founders to complete the survey by 30 June.