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Pitching to the Tune of $100,000!

One lucky North East startup is singing to a very different tune after progressing through the first round of a competition that could see them share in over $100,000 in prizes, including a trip to China! 

Congratulations to “MachEst”, a web platform that automates CNC design quotations, for taking home the winning prize at last night’s Pitch Fest held at the Wangaratta Regional Study Centre.The prize includes an all-expenses paid trip to attend the Jiangsu Victoria Startup Summit held in Nanjing, China in May, to compete for a share in over $100,000 in prizes. 

Founder Sidney Steele is grateful for the opportunity.  

“It’s really exciting to build this type of stuff locally. This is really going to put North East Victoria on the map, encourage growth and keep our people local with new opportunities.” 

Guest judges Mark Cooper of Defining Leaders, Amelia Hartney of Crowe Horwath, and Sarah Brindley from the Rural City of Wangaratta, had a tough decision to make in their selection. 

“I was truly impressed by the quality of submissions we received” Says Emma Jones, Coordinator of Startup Shakeup. “It’s clear from our first pitch night that Northeast Vic has caught the startup bug. With the support and interest shown last night, our Startup Shakeup community will only strengthen.” 

Second place was awarded to “Teledrome”, a real-time drone tracking app by Jay Davis, and in third place was the permaculture-based shelter “GarDen” by Callum Morrison.  

The Pitch Fest was one of several competitions held state-wide to select 15 Victorian startups who will then be matched with Jiangsu startups or companies to participate in a hackathon and Mayors and Investors Forum on 14-15 May in Nanjing, China.  

“This is a unique opportunity for regional Victoria, and all thanks to the 40th anniversary of the partnership between the City of Melbourne and Jiangsu province in China.” Says Shane McIlroy from the City of Melbourne. “It’s not often that we can get 15 seats on a plane funded by China for the benefit of Victorian based startups, and it’s great to see such strong support and potential in the North East’s rural communities.” 

Mayor Scott Upston from Benalla Rural City, was enthusiastic about an event of this type happening in our region, and the potential for regional growth.  

“What excites me about this Startup Shakeup movement is that there’s now an opportunity for young people and local talent to stay in their communities and prosper – without having to go to the big smoke. After tonight, it’s now up to the leaders in our communities to step up and encourage men, women, and youth to get involved in events such as this so we can continue regional growth and keep people local.” 

The Pitch Fest was a taste of things to come with a similar celebration event planned for July 26 which will see even more startups contesting for a helping-hand prize that could have their North East product or service launched into a global market. Stay up to date at: startupshakeup.co