Video transcript: Business Insights: Kate Cornick

Video Transcript

Business Insights Kate Cornick

[Title: Business insights - Kate Cornick, CEO, LaunchVic]

Georgina Jerums

Dr Kate Cornick heads up LaunchVic, an independent agency established by the Victorian Government in 2016, to help accelerate our state’s start-up ecosystem.

But, how does it actually do that?

And what do start-ups need to know to help them succeed?

Welcome Kate.

Dr Kate Cornick

Thank you very much.

Georgina Jerums

Now Kate, let’s begin by talking about what LaunchVic actually does.

Dr Kate Cornick

Yes, so we’re the state government agency for growing Victoria’s start-up ecosystem, and what we mean by start-ups are high growth companies that are going contribute jobs to our future economy.

We’re talking about companies that can grow from one person and a great idea to ultimately having hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of valuation and creating thousands of jobs.

Georgina Jerums

So for someone who’s never heard about a start-up, what’s your definition of it?

Let’s get back to basics there.

Dr Kate Cornick

It’s a term that means lots of things to lots of people, but at LaunchVic we know that start-ups are innovative companies, they’re high growth, they have the potential to reach million dollar valuation, they’re also disruptive and they’re typically aiming at global markets.

Georgina Jerums

So that’s a start-up.

Tell us now about what a scale-up is.

Dr Kate Cornick

So a scale-up is a start-up that’s scaled, and the OECD definition for a scale-up is a company that’s achieved 20% growth year-on-year for at least three years.

And then once you’ve achieved scale-up status, the Holy Grail is unicorns, and unicorns are billion dollar companies.

They’re the companies that are really creating enormous economic value to the state and creating thousands of jobs.

Georgina Jerums

What do companies need to do to meet the criteria for LaunchVic support?

Dr Kate Cornick

So ultimately LaunchVic, as the state government agency, is supporting people who in turn support start-ups.

So we support accelerators, incubators, we do a lot of events, we do a lot of early stage work with community building.

And so ultimately the people that we’re looking to support are entrepreneurs who might have an idea or want to have an idea, through to early stage companies that are perhaps looking for their first venture capital raise.

So no matter where you are in the state, if you’ve got a great idea there’s an opportunity for you to grow that idea.

The one other thing I’d say is often people are surprised to hear that the average age of an entrepreneur is 37 years old.

It’s not your typical university student graduate, it’s people who have got life-skills and experience behind them in the workplace for at least a decade.

Georgina Jerums

So how are you pushing out the message for LaunchVic?

You’ve got a Scale-up Your Career Campaign, can you shed some light about that?

Dr Kate Cornick

The Scale-up Your Career Campaign was actually targeting a real challenge that we knew that scaling companies, our scale-ups are facing, and that was that they weren’t able to find the right talent, and a lot of people when you talk about talent in the start-up sector instantly jump back to it being technology talent.

The reality is it’s just like other big companies, these scaling companies need great operational people, they need great business development people, they need HR people, they need finance people, and they’re really struggling to fill those roles.

So Scale-up Your Career was a campaign that we ran that was really about trying to connect potential jobseekers who may not think of themselves as being start-up employees, but are nevertheless talented employees that have a lot to offer with our up and coming companies.

Georgina Jerums

Let’s talk talent attraction.

Importing global talent is so important for Victorian start-ups.

Why is that the case?

Dr Kate Cornick

We know that if we want to have a really vibrant and thriving start-up sector we need to be part of a global ecosystem.

We want people travelling overseas to great hubs to be able to sell their products, but we also want great people from overseas coming to Victoria to setup start-ups, and we need to be an attractive location.

And the good news is we are, and we are attracting some brilliant entrepreneurs from overseas to come and set up companies here in Victoria.

And we’re also, through the work of the Victorian Government, attracting some brilliant up and coming start-ups and scale-ups to come to Victoria to locate their headquarters.

So it’s being able to have a global perspective and understand that by attracting global talent we’re sharing skills and knowledge and networks and connections, that will not only help those companies be successful, but will help our own companies be successful.

Georgina Jerums

Tell us Kate about some recent success stories of businesses, start-ups or scale-ups, that have collaborated with LaunchVic?

Dr Kate Cornick

There are some great stories coming through, and we know that we’ve supported over 250 businesses through our start-up accelerators that we’ve funded, and those 250 businesses have gone on to raise $30 million in private sector capital, which is a huge achievement in just a year.

Most of these companies are between one and five employees in size, and what we’re seeing is that by the accelerators that we put in place those companies are growing jobs, and we’ve actually seen those 250 companies grow over 300 new jobs in the Victorian economy in the last years.

Georgina Jerums

Kate, tell us what is an accelerator?

Dr Kate Cornick

So an accelerator is a program that’s typically about three months in length, and start-ups apply.

It’s a competitive process to get into it.

And the accelerator, once the start-ups are in it, are put through effectively a really intense three month boot camp.

They get education on how to grow a company, how to attract venture capital, they get access to mentors, they may get access to capital.

And at the end of it what we see is that start-ups that go through an accelerator go through an acceleration process and grow faster.

They’re more successful in the long-term.

They’re more successful in attracting venture capital.

So they’re a great way to grow a company.

Georgina Jerums

What tips would you offer for scale-ups and start-ups?

Dr Kate Cornick

So if you’re a start-up and you’ve got a great idea, definitely check out the LaunchVic website and look at the accelerators and pre-accelerators that we have on offer and are supporting, because they are people there that are highly skilled in helping companies grow, helping you attract investor capital, helping you connect into mentors, and giving you the support that you need to grow.

If you’re a scale-up, we definitely want to know about you and we want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to promote your story.

But we’d also recommend that you reach out to the Victorian Government through the Trade and Investment offices, through Global Victoria and Invest Victoria.

Georgina Jerums

And what about you personally Kate, what do you love most about your role?

Dr Kate Cornick

I think it’s a real privilege to be leading a sector that you care deeply about, but is also a sector that is making a massive difference to the economy.

A few years ago the start-up sector was very much a fringe activity and it’s becoming more mainstream.

We see corporates left, right and centre talking the jargon, talking about accelerators and start-ups and investments.

We see investors across the state taking more of a role in backing local companies.

And you have this incredible energy in this sector and that’s really exciting and it’s a real privilege to lead a sector that’s on the up and doing really well.

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