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Victoria pledges new funding to grow health startups through LaunchVic

The Victoria Government in Australia recently announced new funding to accelerate the growth of health startups and capitalise on the strong medical industry in Victoria.

“Victoria is a leader in innovation and a leader in medtech and pharma – we want to combine these to create new companies and medical technologies that could enhance or save lives,” said Minister for Health Ms Jill Hennessy.

Currently, Victoria’s health sector contributes A$30 billion each year to the state and is the largest and fastest growing source of employment. The recently released 2018 Global Startup Genome report named Melbourne one of the world’s most important global health and life sciences ecosystems.

“We want to use our strengths in health and life sciences to create more successful startups and boost local jobs,” said Minister for Innovation and the Digital Economy Mr Philip Dalidakis.

Delivered by Victoria’s startup development agency LaunchVic, the funding will support accelerator and education programs focused on the health sector – including medtech, biotech, pharma, health and aging services and disability services.

LaunchVic is seeking to invest up to A$1 million per application for Accelerator programs that run up to three years and are focused specifically on the Health Startup Sector. LaunchVic will accept applications for up to A$3 million only if they are exceptional. It would particularly welcome accelerators that are led by or partner with Victorian Hospitals as these provide more opportunities for innovation pull and validation of health startup problems.

It will also invest up to A$250,000 per application for founder and investor education services dedicated to the Health Startup Sector including but not limited to: founder education programs on commercial strategy; reimbursements; domestic, international regulatory environments and other programs; and investor education for angels focused on the Health Startup Sector.

A preference will be given to accelerators that are led by or partnered with Victorian hospitals. Applications for funding will close on 5 July 2018.

In Victoria, 11% of startups and scaleups are health and wellbeing companies. These businesses account for 26% of startup jobs, disproportionately larger than any other industry in Victoria’s startup sector.

According to LaunchVic CEO Dr Kate Cornick, leveraging Victoria’s strengths and supporting startups that are focused on health will further position Victoria as an internationally leading health startup hub.

Credit: LaunchVic

Earlier this week, LaunchVic also released a new report titled the State of HealthTech that looks at what needs to be done to maximise this important sector and create economic benefits for Victorians. The report found that 57% of health startups do not know where to go to access the support needed to grow and another 42% do not know how to identify or locate investors.

The report also provided recommendations to address these gaps, including more assistance for health startups entering the startup world and using experienced HealthTech entrepreneurs and experts as consultants and mentors.

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