Media Release: Startup Gippsland celebrates the conclusion of its Tech Startup Skills program, and announces 2021 award winners

Startup Gippsland celebrates the conclusion of its Tech Startup Skills program, and announces 2021 award winners



On Friday 13th August, twelve founders from all across the six Gippsland local government areas came together to celebrate the 2021 Tech Startup Skills Program Pitch Final. For these bright and eager entrepreneurs, the Pitch Final was their chance to share their new businesses with a virtual audience of over 200 attendees from all across the region, and beyond. 


Over the past four months, the founders have attended weekend intensive sessions, held across each shire area, and gained specialised support and assistance from a number of local mentors and industry experts. They’ve learnt the business fundamentals required to develop their idea, discovered digital and technology platforms that can be implemented in their businesses, and have built confidence in their capabilities as a startup founder. In addition to this, program participants have built a strong support network which focuses on collaboration over competition. 


In the live virtual Pitch Final event, each startup founder pitched their business to both the audience and the judging panel, which was made up of Startup Gippsland founder, Dr. Elena Kelareva, Kate Wallis of Commonwealth Bank, and Georgia McDonald of LaunchVIC, for a share of the prize pool that could help them to develop their businesses even further. 


Also joining the event was keynote speaker, Sallie Jones, co-founder of Gippsland Jersey, and special guest, Brodie “Barbs” Pyle of Gippsland Promotions. 

“I love a good startup story, and I was so excited to be involved in Startup Gippsland’s Pitch Final event. It was inspiring to witness the passion and dedication of these local founders”, says Sallie Jones.


The Tech Startup Skills program participants came from a wide range of industries and sectors, including education, health, renewable energy, language learning, and music. At the conclusion of the Pitch Final, five diverse businesses came away with a share in the prize pool.


Gippsland Founder of the Year Award Winner: Baw Baw Shire’s Jan Clarke from Door 2

“Startup Gippsland provided the environment and support to help me focus, clarify, and expand my thinking so that I could move beyond the constraints that were holding me back.” 


Gippsland Tech Brave Award Winner: Baw Baw Shire’s Paul and Therese Gorton from Foodie

“Previously, we’d tried to do everything ourselves, but the team at Startup Gippsland have helped us see there are so many other ways. Technology doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and there are free options out there which can be used to get you off the ground – sometimes it’s just a matter of starting somewhere.” 


Gippsland Sky Rocket Award Winner: South Gippsland Shire’s Jane Barr from Anchor Forest Therapy

“It didn’t take me long to realise that the group of people within the Tech Startup Skills program – the trainers, mentors, and Startup Gippsland team, were totally committed to the values they espouse: respect, diversity, equal opportunity, inclusion, and kindness.”


Gippsland “Gotcha Back” Award Winner: Latrobe City Council’s Christine Lenghaus from Maths Heroes

“Startup Gippsland has guided me along the path to becoming a business owner. The fantastic support and wealth of knowledge shared has enabled me to face the challenges and growth required to change my future.”


Gippsland People’s Choice Award Winner: Latrobe City Council’s Brooke Lewis from SiSu Society

“Startup Gippsland has been more than just a program, it’s been life changing. I started out with an idea, and now I’ve launched a business that sits very close to my heart. Don’t even think about applying for the next program – just do it. You’ll be so grateful you did.” 



Zoe Doyle, Startup Gippsland Marketing & Communications Specialist

hello[at] +61 (0)3 5644 3321


Startup Gippsland pitch final Sallie Jones from Gippsland JerseyStartup Gippsland pitch final Jan Clarke from Door 2Startup Gippsland pitch final Brodie Pyle from Gippsland PromotionsStartup Gippsland pitch final Paul and Therese Gorton from Foodie

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