With improved outcomes for regional communities at the heart of her concept, it’s no surprise Fiona is passionate about the role startups and small businesses can play in delivering these outcomes. She’s also a strong advocate for ensuring support offered takes into account the differences between regional and metropolitan.
Prior to Startup Shakeup, I was regularly going down to Melbourne to connect to the startup community; I was not aware of a community locally, so if there was one it was amorphous.
– Fiona Elgin
Tell us about your idea or startup.
Liminas has evolved, and will continue to evolve, with a focus on improving outcomes for regional communities, including educational attainment, through increased visibility of employment opportunity.
I have been very fortunate to have a diverse career with a significant focus on corporate advisory including internationally, expertise in higher education and an overarching commitment to communities or groups of individuals that are statistically disadvantaged. This experience has highlighted persisting data points indicating an issue with transparency around opportunity. By partnering with community, Liminas aims to minimise these. We aim to launch our initial service in August 2019.
What were you looking for when you came to Startup Shakeup?
Community, intellectual debate and a deep commitment to the potential of regional Australia and Victoria. I strongly believe in the importance and value of community. Having stepped out of a large and stable intellectual community to start Liminas, I was looking for these connections in a different form. I was also hoping I could contribute to growing a local startup community by sharing support and expertise with others so that together we strengthened our area of regional Victoria. Regional Australia still needs a much stronger voice.
Please describe what Startup Shakeup did for you?
Startup Shakeup helped me create new linkages from my concept to the local community. One of the most valuable aspects of the program has been one-on-one mentorship from Mark Cooper. Startup Shakeup recognised that there was huge diversity in the business ideas being generated and tailoring support to individual needs was important.
On a macro scale, Startup Shakeup also demonstrated the potential in the region, reinforced the importance of a startup or innovation community and the fact that a true startup culture needs the investment of time and resources over an extended period. On the one hand this was very positive, on the other it has made me consider what happens if this community is not supported over a realistic period of time.
What has changed in your business and/or life as a result of Startup Shakeup?
The primary changes are that developing a new business regionally has not been such an isolated endeavour; there has been high quality support available locally and the research and development process has been enriched by the Startup Shakeup connection.
Where to next for you?
I believe I have now reconciled the concept and market fit and am excited about taking Liminas forward.
What are the benefits of Startup Shakeup to our region?
Initiatives such as Startup Shakeup ensure that regional Australia, and in this case North East Victoria, is developing an innovation culture and increasing the opportunity of essential private sector growth. One of the aspects I like most about Startup Shakeup is that it is focussed on systemic change rather than simply being another incubator or accelerator that provides short-term support and resourcing to selected businesses.
What is your advice to other people in startup mode/other entrepreneurs?
While there is a lot of pressure on getting to market, pitching and scaling, it is also important to mentally step away from the hype, take time to think and make sure that you are comfortable with where your business is heading and landing. Despite all the excitement and possibility, in my experience, most of the time it is just you with your idea so make sure you surround yourself with a community that balances this and helps keep perspective.