Media Release: Startup Gippsland concludes its first ever accelerator program, supporting 12 later-stage founders and entrepreneurs

Startup Gippsland concludes its first ever accelerator program, supporting 12 later-stage founders and entrepreneurs



Startup Gippsland has recently concluded the Scale Up Accelerator program; a first of its kind to be delivered solely for Gippsland entrepreneurs. Over three months, the new program supported 12 established startup founders in the region, who have ambitions to scale their businesses into national and global markets. Having already supported over 150 local startups over the past three years, the team at Startup Gippsland was excited to have a program targeted specifically at founders who were ready to advance their businesses to the next stage.


Startup Gippsland collaborated with a team of industry and scale-up experts to deliver the program, which spanned topics such as growth strategies, strategic finance, accessing funding and investment, distribution, marketing, and other important elements that are required to scale. These experts included Craig Malcolm and Julie Wilson of AusIndustry, Bill Lang of Small Business Australia, Brandon Burns of TorchT Productions, David Grimmond of Food & Fibre Gippsland, and John Gwyther of Melbourne Angels, all of whom shared their knowledge and expertise to support the program participants to enter new markets and take the next steps to propel their business growth. 


Also joining the pool of facilitators and experts were guest speakers Jane Sahhar, co-founder of Friendie and 2019 Startup Gippsland Alumni, and Kim McFarlane, founder of McFarlane Criminal Lawyers, who inspired the participants with stories from their own experiences as Gippsland-based founders. Laxmi Pun of Melbourne Accelerator Program and Jock Lawrence, founder of Mobble, also spoke about the journey of developing an ag-tech startup. 


The Scale Up program participants came from a wide range of industries and sectors, including health, education, food and fibre, and manufacturing. The founders achieved significant achievements throughout the course of the program, with notable mentions including: Elle James from Night Babe, who was featured on Sunrise’s Plugapalooza and received over 100 orders overnight as a result, Katie Dawson from Cottage Garden Threads, who secured a wholesale account in America, resulting in their biggest order to date, and Dave Sayers from Avail Designs, who has expanded their products into more of Reece’s retail stores, and are now close to becoming the preferred supplier for high end projects.  


Here is an overview of each of the Scale Up program participants: 


Baw Baw Shire’s Dave Sayers, founder of Avail Designs 

Avail Designs creates a range of stylish bathroom grab rails and shower seats to make accessible bathrooms safer and more attractive.


Baw Baw Shire’s Lachlan Geritz & Asbrand Weekes, founders of Kooee Brew

Kooee Brew creates and distributes delicious canned nitro cold brew coffee and iced teas using natural botanicals.

“The program has been a huge asset for myself and Asbrand at Kooee Brew. Startup Gippsland facilitated an interactive and collaborative environment for us to expand our networks, and gather great insights from a range of mentors and guest speakers to further develop our growth strategy.”


Baw Baw Shire’s Laura Eddington, founder of Little Bumble Reusable Food Wraps

Little Bumble Reusable Food Wraps is an eco-friendly, plastic-free food storage solution, helping to preserve food freshness and reduce plastic use, both nationwide and abroad. 


Baw Baw Shire’s Paul & Therese Gorton, founders of Foodie

Foodie is an online food ordering system which is designed to streamline and simplify ordering in school Food Technology departments and aged-care facilities.


Baw Baw Shire’s Rhonda Campbell from Cellfield 

Cellfield is a computer based program which can improve reading skills for its users by an average of 18 months over a one month time period.


East Gippsland Shire’s Hollie Johnson, co-founder of Deadly Wears 

Deadly Wears is a majority owned Aboriginal Apparel Business, creating ethical and sustainable First Nations products that showcase Culture, Country and Community, for all People to wear with pride.


South Gippsland Shire’s Kate Dawson, co-founder of Cottage Garden Threads

Cottage Garden Threads manufacture beautiful hand-dyed threads to inspire projects and connect stitchers of all ages, genders, cultures and abilities.

“I began the program with a goal to develop our share in the global market for our local textile manufacturing business. I concluded the program having secured record orders from leading U.S stores, establishing key partnerships with industry leaders, and gaining a wealth of knowledge, all while being supported by an incredible team of facilitators, mentors and peers.” 


Wellington Shire’s Elle James, founder of Night Babe 

Night Babe produces luxurious handcrafted silk pillowcases that reduce ageing and bed hair, and keep skincare products on your face, instead of on your pillow.

“Over the course of the Scale Up program, my ecommerce business has more than tripled in sales thanks to the encouragement, support, and most of all, knowledge passed onto me from the amazing mentors and facilitators. I would recommend this program to anyone wanting to take their business to the next level.” 


Wellington Shire’s Erin Lord, co-founder of Aeromedical Solutions 

Aeromedical Solutions is a medical repatriation brokering service for Australians who have become ill or injured overseas.


The exciting conclusion to this program will be a networking luncheon, which will help the founders to source new connections and business opportunities, both in and beyond Gippsland. 



Zoe Doyle, Startup Gippsland Marketing & Communications Specialist

hello[at] +61 (0)431 428 424



Share this post