Supporting startups to start, grow and go global

A group of smiling business people sitting on bleachers with their hands in the air.

We’ve helped founders of new Melbourne startups forge connections with Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam through our START in Melbourne, SCALE to Southeast Asia program.   

The pilot program brought together early-stage founders with experts from the startup, government and university sectors for 30 workshops, mentoring and networking sessions over five days at local innovation hubs, with virtual connections into Southeast Asia. 

With Southeast Asia on track to be the fourth largest economy in the world by 2030, engagement with the region is important to Melbourne’s recovery, and to boosting our reputation as an innovation city. 

Run in partnership with Melbourne EdTech company HEX, the program facilitated connections that will help participants develop, test and progress their ideas, and ‘go global’ from Melbourne.  

The 15 startups who participated came from diverse sectors, including digital technology (including crypto, data analytics, AI and finance), fashion (including adaptive clothing), hospitality, and wellness. Here are just a few of the startups who took part: 

1. Cryptocurrency education
Developed by a team that believes financial education must cover cryptocurrency, the The CryptoPlayground will help people feel confident in the everyday use of crypto, and avoid the risks and complexity involved in this ecosystem.  

‘The START in Melbourne, SCALE to Southeast Asia program was very well organised, with local and global speakers who contributed to my knowledge.

It was great to share with like-minded startup founders, gain market intelligence, and learn about the City of Melbourne’s amazing programs and support. The experience will help me build a strategy to scale my project.’

Susan Toby, The CryptoPlayground 

2. Communications skills
A self-learning, AI-powered coach, GetMee gives its users the tools to become better communicators, skills that will help their organisations and communities thrive. GetMee’s initial target market is people with English as their second language.

3. Mental health support
Asian Australians have a low engagement with mental health services when compared to other racial groups. Shapes and Sounds is an online program to engage and motivate them to seek support and care for their mental health and wellbeing. 

‘It was such a great opportunity to be part of START in Melbourne, SCALE to Southeast Asia. It felt so awesome to be thinking about expanding overseas after two years of being stuck at home, and it made my goals more realistic and tangible.

I was proud of myself for actively approaching mentors and asking questions, and I look forward to continuing to expand my vision.’

Asami Koike, Shapes and Sounds 

4. Urban forest data insights
Tree Ledger uses AI, aerial photos and light detection and ranging to monitor canopy change, offering its clients data-based evidence to track their progress against ambitious greening targets, to create cities that are more liveable and climate-resilient. 

Get help to grow your business

The START in Melbourne, SCALE to Southeast Asia program is just one of a number of programs we run to help some of our city’s brightest minds start and grow world-class businesses, and to showcase Melbourne as a globally connected innovation centre. 

We are now recruiting participants for our NexStar program, which aims to supercharge established local startups and small companies by tapping into international students’ business skills and knowledge of global markets through a structured internship program. 

Delivered in partnership with ACASE, our NexStar program pairs businesses with students to explore new opportunities in the Asia Pacific region, including China, Indonesia and Singapore. 

Working together, the students and businesses will prepare an international market pitch, with support from the program mentors and industry experts.  

We are seeking expressions of interest from businesses and students to be part of NexStar 2022. Applications are open until 5 April. 

To find out more, visit International business opportunities or apply to be part of NexStar. 

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