Media Release: 2020 Participants & Program Commencement

Startup Gippsland announces 2020 Incubator participants, creating growth opportunities for 59 local businesses. 


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Now in its second year, the Startup Gippsland Incubator program has innovated to deliver much-needed support to businesses and entrepreneurs across Gippsland, as the region works to recover from the ravages of the most recent bushfire season, and even as the state continues to grapple with COVID-19.

“When we first conceived Startup Gippsland in 2018, we knew there was a huge need for these programs. Developing thriving startup ecosystems outside of the major urban centres is a key piece of the puzzle for the future of regional economies,” says Program Manager Stephanie Thoo.

And now, as Gippsland has emerged from one of the worst bushfire seasons in memory straight into a pandemic, it is absolutely necessary to nurture and cultivate the people who are working to create new jobs and new opportunities in the region.”

Startup Gippsland 2020 cohort of 59 businesses – spanning all six Gippsland shires – will spend twelve weeks working through an intensive program designed to help them validate and scale their businesses, refine their offerings, and learn the fundamentals of running a successful enterprise. The program will culminate in a series of pitch showcases, where the startups will have an opportunity to present their ideas to judging panels comprised of senior business and community leaders, as well as potential investors. Reimagined on the fly as regional Victoria continues to grapple with the evolving COVID landscape, the Incubator Program is now a completely virtual experience until restrictions are lifted.

“We’re incredibly pleased with both the strength and diversity of our cohort this year,” said Ms. Thoo. “From existing businesses looking to expand or refocus, to idea-stage ventures at the beginning of the validation process, to people who want to take the leap and turn a side business into a full-time job, our founders run the gamut. They come from a huge range of backgrounds, industries, and experiences, from their twenties to seventies, and we’re very pleased that 52% of our founders this year are women. These inventive, driven, and enthusiastic founders are the future of business in our region.”

Cr Dan Clancey, Mayor of Latrobe City, believes that Startup Gippsland is a vital program to foster economic growth in the region.

“Startup Gippsland is helping to develop a forward-thinking business culture across Gippsland, creating opportunities for new industries to take root and flourish.”

2019 Startup Gippsland participant Angelo Saridis, who has come back in 2020 as a Program Mentor, believes that the experience is invaluable for everyone involved: “The Startup Gippsland program provides a community where participants, alumni, facilitators and mentors all become part of an ecosystem. This produces a great depth of knowledge available to everyone, a place to vent frustrations and fears, people to lean on, and most of all a pool of energy for everyone to draw on as they strive to get their startups off the ground. In the current climate programs such as this one are so vital to recovery and to keeping our community connected.”

Cr John White, Mayor of East Gippsland, sees immense value in programs like Startup Gippsland to help foster community in challenging times.

“Startup Gippsland is more than just an economic development initiative. Admirably, they’re trying to build a community for Gippsland’s best and brightest to come together, share ideas, and pool resources. In challenging times, we need to support the people who are trying to create a brighter future for our region.”

Startup Gippsland is a project by the Bass Coast Shire, Baw Baw Shire, East Gippsland Shire, Latrobe City, South Gippsland Shire and Wellington Shire councils, co-funded by the Latrobe Valley Authority and Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, and delivered by GippsTech.

The Startup Gippsland 2020 Incubator Program runs through to 27 November.

To learn more about our 59 participating businesses, visit


Media Enquiries
Natasha Wright / Sarah Kay
+61 (0)3 5644 3321

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