Amazon Launchpad announces SMB grants aimed at fostering innovation

Amazon Launchpad announces SMB grants aimed at fostering innovation

Despite facing economic setbacks as a result of lockdown restrictions, Australian SMBs say they are most optimistic about the ability to grow and innovate over the next 12 months, according to new research from Amazon Launchpad.

This program is to help Aussie startups and entrepreneurs bring innovative products to shoppers.

Commissioned by Amazon Australia, the Amazon Launchpad Innovation Report explores the current sentiment amongst Australian SMB owners, how they evolved their businesses while in lockdown, and their plans as Australia travels the road to recovery.

What are the key findings of the report?

The research reveals that Australian SMBs have been innovating in times of uncertainty – with 28% of SMBs noting isolation helped them innovate for the future, refresh their business plan (35%) or focus on creativity (38%).

During this time, approximately a quarter of SMBs also said they were able to innovate by exploring new revenue streams or launching online.

Further, around 1 in 6 said they innovated by creating new products or transforming their products whilst 1 in 5 planned for or built a new business or product strategy to move forward.

To help propel this swell of innovation, Amazon Australia has today launched Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants, an initiative to recognise innovation by Australian startups, entrepreneurs and SMBs.

How will the program operate?

Five grant packages will be awarded, each more than $80,000 AUD in value.

Chadd Ciccarelli, Head of Launchpad, Amazon Australia said, “More than a quarter of SMBs (29%) said that the lack of available funding is the biggest barrier to innovating or growing the business for the remainder of 2020 and more than half (55%) lacked guidance or mentorship during this time.

We hope that the new Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants will catapult a new wave of small businesses who have evolved during this time to continue creating and transforming products.

In the first year since launch, we’ve worked closely with many startups, entrepreneurs and small business owners to launch cutting-edge products on Amazon Launchpad as part of Amazon.com.au.

Over the past few months in particular, we’ve seen Australian SMBs lean even further into innovation to grow their businesses and we’re looking forward to seeing how the grants will enable these creative minds to further this innovation for the future.”

Each Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants package is worth more than $80,000 and includes a $20,000 cash grant, Amazon and AWS marketing support, and exclusive access to mentors such as Amazon leadership and entrepreneur experts from Australia and HQ in Seattle.

Additionally, it will include time with successful e-commerce savvy Australian SMBs; and insights from angel investors in the Venture Capital community.

To help select the Amazon Launchpad Grant Recipients, Amazon Launchpad has recruited two SMB experts; Carl Hartmann, Serial Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of non-alcoholic company Lyre’s Non- Alcoholic Spirts and Renae Smith of healthy baking goods brand, Bake Mixes.

On being a Innovations Grant judge, Hartmann said, “Having launched and built several startups, I know how exciting yet tough the journey is, especially this year with the economic impacts of the last few months.

“I’m honoured to work with Amazon Launchpad and award the Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants to help small to medium businesses across Australia grow.

I know the grant packages will go a long way in funding continued innovation as we’re on the road to recovery.”

Other key Amazon Launchpad Innovation Report findings:

  • Digital reset: 1 in 3 (34%) said lockdown helped them develop their digital strategies for future growth.
  • The ‘all-in’ Aussie attitude: optimistically four in five (84%) SMBs said there was an increased sense of support for local businesses, while three quarters (76%) said they had received messages of encouragement from customers.
  • Future growth: SMBs said they most need funding to put towards their digital presence (15%), growing business into new countries (15%), staffing (15%), creativity (11%), e- commerce (10%), with $20,000 being identified an impactful injection of funds to help with these areas (84%).

The Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants entry period is from today to 11.59pm, Monday 24th August 2020 on this site.

The five Amazon Launchpad grant recipients from across Australia will be publicly announced in September 2020.