The Andrews Labor Government will invest $2.4 million to boost access and participation in the state’s booming startup sector, with a focus on regional Victorian communities.

“Every startup has a role to play in Victoria’s future, whether they’re from Mildura or Maribyrnong, and this investment will ensure regional Victorian startups have access to the same resources as those in the city.”

Minister for Innovation and the Digital Economy Philip Dalidakis

The funding will be invested through LaunchVic and will support 15 projects across 26 local government areas in Victoria – ranging from $50,000 to $400,000 to support startup and entrepreneurial activity in local regions.

Projects include bootcamps, mentoring, meetups, hackathons, masterclasses and workshops.


“Ballarat is already establishing a great startup culture and we’re excited about regional Victoria taking full advantage of its potential.” 

Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford 

Councils in regional Victoria set to receive either direct or consortia funding include Warrnambool, Corangamite, Moyne, Ballarat, Latrobe, Wellington, Bass Coast, Baw Baw, Towong, Benalla, Indigo, Mansfield, Wangaratta and Mildura.

Councils set to receive funding in Melbourne include Whittlesea, Melton, Casey, Cardinia, Brimbank, Moreland, Maribyrnong, Hume, Dandenong, Wyndham, Hobsons Bay and Moonee Valley.

“LaunchVic has prioritised diversity and inclusion as part of its strategy and this funding complements previous activities by supporting entrepreneurs in outer Melbourne and our regions.”

LaunchVic CEO Dr Kate Cornick

LaunchVic’s annual Mapping Victoria’s Startup Ecosystem survey revealed only 3 per cent of the state’s startups are based outside inner Melbourne, and are distributed across just three regional centres in Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat.

This investment complements LaunchVic’s Startup Guide and Toolkit released late last year to help councils secure funding to implement programs and activities that nurture startup activity and encourage greater participation within their communities.

For more information on funded programs visit

Funding Recipients

City of Ballarat $100,000 STARTUP BALLARAT! City of Ballarat to run STARTUP BALLARAT! a program of meetups, hackathons, masterclasses and coworking trials. The program will address gaps for early-stage startups in the local community and aims to create a stronger startup brand for Ballarat to attract more founders, talent and investment.
Benalla Rural City Council $400,000 Innovate NE Vic Innovate NE Vic Startups Benalla Rural City Council with Rural City of WangarattaMansfield Shire Council and Indigo Shire Council as a consortium, will run Innovate NE Vic Startups, a program of events to build startup capacity in North East Victoria. The program includes four Hyper-local Ideas Fests, one in each municipality, to solve the region’s problems and create momentum for the bootcamps, mentoring, and meetups. The program will culminate in an annual Pitchfest and an annual North East Innovation Conference.
Brimbank City Council $100,000 Sunshine Business Hub Brimbank City Council will run the Sunshine Business Hub, a program that will support the establishment of a coworking space within the Brimbank Community and Civic Centre, and a program of meetups, pitch events, masterclasses and mentoring support for local entrepreneurs and startups.
City of Casey $198,250 The INNovation Crowd City of Casey in partnership with Cardinia Shire Council will run The INNovation Crowd, a program that will deliver events including meetups, hackathons, masterclasses, workshops, a bootcamp and a major Business Expo and Pitchfest. The program will also offer mentoring via an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Casey Cardinia Business Hub and online mentoring sessions. Five local founders will also have an opportunity to be selected for kick-starter funding.
City of Greater Dandenong $100,000 Greater Dandenong Startup Hub City of Greater Dandenong will activate the Greater Dandenong Startup Hub through workshops, hackathons, coworking memberships, mentoring and masterclasses to accelerate local entrepreneurship skill sets. The program will provide opportunities for the next generation of local entrepreneurs in this culturally diverse business minded municipality.
Hume City Council $86,500 Creating a startup ecosystem in Hume Hume City Council will run Creating a startup ecosystem in Hume to support new startups through meetups, mentoring and hackathons. Transport & Logistics and Warehousing & Manufacturing are two of the largest industries in the municipality with  local startups strongly encouraged to help drive startup entrepreneurship for these industries.
Latrobe City Council $400,000 Startup Gippsland Latrobe City Council with Bass Coast Shire CouncilWellington Shire Council and Baw Baw Shire Council as a consortium, will run Startup Gippsland, a cohesive array of programs aiming to grow the Gippsland startup ecosystem. The program includes meetups, masterclasses, a comprehensive mentoring program and major events to help Gippsland startups become accelerator-ready.
Maribyrnong City Council $100,000 Network Inner West Maribyrnong City Council will run Network Inner West; a series of events designed to meet the challenges of Maribyrnong’s culturally diverse communities, and young people. The project will link the City’s CALD communities to opportunities in Melbourne’s west creating an avenue to market for inner west startups.
Melton City Council $88,960 The Hot House Project Melton City Council will run The Hot House Project, a three-phase program featuring workshops, networking events, mentoring, masterclasses, coworking space access and hackathons. The program will support local startup talent to take their ideas to the next level.
Mildura Rural City Council $50,000 ‘Magnify’ Mildura – creating jobs for the future Mildura Rural City Council will run ‘Magnify’ Mildura – creating jobs for the future, a series of events including workshops, masterclasses and a hackathon to help the local startup ecosystem grow as a vibrant hub of regional startup activity.
Moreland City Council $100,000 Moreland Converger Program Moreland City Council to run the Moreland Converger Program that consists of a series of mentorship, masterclasses, workshops and meetups  to increase the connectivity and growth of the local startup community which is attracting a growing enclave of creative and tech startups and multi-disciplinary entrepreneurs.
Towong Shire Council $100,000 Think-Start-Grow Towong Shire Council will run Think-Start-Grow, a program that will focus on building knowledge and awareness of startup entrepreneurship through a series of workshops, networking forums, events and mentoring support. Participants will gain an understanding of the entrepreneurship ecosystem, rural entrepreneurship models and links to local resources.
Warrnambool City Council $284,420 UNEARTHED Warrnambool City Council in partnership with Moyne Shire Counciland Corangamite Shire Council, will run UNEARTHED, a regional program that includes: events, meetups, a bootcamp of focused workshops, masterclasses and mentoring. The program aims to create awareness, accelerate the local ecosystem and unearth startup and scaleup potential especially in the food and fibre area.
City of Whittlesea $89,710 Ignite…igniting north metro startups City of Whittlesea will run Ignite…igniting north metro startups, a series of events ranging from short workshops to full day hackathons to engage local startups. The project will address the need to create more employment opportunities for a growing population.
Wyndham City Council $270,000 #StartWest Wyndham City Council with Hobsons Bay City CouncilMaribyrnong City Business, and Moonee Valley City as a consortium, will run #StartWest; a program designed to educate and encourage people in Melbourne’s west to participate in the startup ecosystem. The program includes mentoring, meetups, and capacity building masterclasses culminating with the #StartWest Festival, which will celebrate startups in Melbourne’s west and inspire potential founders.