WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Global Entrepreneurship Network is excited to announce the opening of Startup Huddle in Mandurah, Australia, to help local entrepreneurs hone their pitch skills and discover solutions to the challenges they face.
Startup Huddle is a program designed to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs. As an experiential learning opportunity, the Startup Huddle format is consistent in each location: on a given morning, one or two early-stage startup founders give a six-minute presentation of their companies to a diverse audience of peers, mentors, educators and advisers. Each presentation is followed by a 20-minute question and answer session.
Veronica Smith, Startup Huddle Mandurah organizer, said this program in particular is critical for the development of the region. Outside of Perth, Smith said entrepreneurs struggle to connect with each other. This is why the Startup Huddle program has proven an effective solution to build connections and bond the ecosystem. Already, more than 60 entrepreneurs have participated in three Startup Huddle Mandurah events. Smith said more people are expected to attend future huddles in March and April of 2019.
“Our goal will be to engage, inspire and provide support to a community of local startups and entrepreneurs, becoming recognized as a leading program in our region,” said Smith.
The culture surrounding Startup Huddle is that of a supportive, neutral space, welcoming entrepreneurs to be open and honest about their businesses and the challenges they face. Each event is organized by local entrepreneurs and community builders who volunteer their time to secure a venue, vet and select presenters and publicize the event.
As opposed to a traditional “pitch” environment, Startup Huddle was not created to be critical of entrepreneurs, but rather for the presenters to learn from shared experiences and find ways to support one another as a community.
Smith said a strong community will be necessary as the region begins to develop over the next 30 years. Near Mandurah the Peel Business Park is currently under construction, which is expected to become a hub for innovation and light industry in Western Australia. Population projections for the region show more than 400,000 people living in the region by 2050. And the Australian Government has identified the region as eligible for an Entrepreneurship Facilitator who will help build the startup ecosystem. All of these changes will require a strong regional economy, and Smith believes entrepreneurs are the critical component to developing that economy.
“Peel needs to build an economy that incorporates many industries, adopts an innovative approach to business, and has a highly skilled and high performing workforce,” said Smith. “A thriving, prosperous entrepreneurial ecosystem in The Peel will support economic growth and provide opportunities for employment.”
Startup Huddle is an educational experience for both the audience and the presenters. Presenters are given resources and support to prepare for their presentation and surveyed after their presentation to see what they’ve learned.