news Australia Post has announced that it will be investing $20 million in emerging e-commerce businesses, as well as co-locating its venture accelerator program within the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Accelerator programme (MAP).
The initial partnership with MAP and the investment fund are part of a larger program that is aimed at accelerating e-commerce innovation and supporting small businesses across Australia.
Ahmed Fahour, Managing Director and Group CEO of Australia Post said: “We will work with our people, our customers, the community and our partners to identify new opportunities and emerging, disruptive ecommerce businesses that we can accelerate”.
The executive added that the programme would touch all corners of Australia, with a special focus on regional centres. The program will also leverage Australia Post’s network reach and e-commerce capabilities. Talking about the fund, Fahour said: “We will use the $20 million capital fund, which with the success I expect could grow to more than $100 million over coming years, to directly invest in great ecommerce businesses with ideas that will improve the lives of our customers.”
Fahour also highlighted how ecommerce is important for Australia Post’s customers. He said: “Throughout our 207 years of serving the Australian community we have always innovated in response to social and technology changes. And innovation is essential to remaining relevant to our customers as their behaviour and expectations change.”
Fahour added that innovation was at the forefront of Australia Post’s transformation into a leading ecommerce business.
Sharing examples of other similar initiatives, he said: “Through programs like ‘GoDigi’ which is building our nation’s digital literacy, to our Go & Grow Online seminars aimed at regional small business, and our relationships with global partners like eBay and Alibaba, we are encouraging digital engagement and innovation.”
This non-exclusive partnership is expected to be the first of many around Australia. An important aspect of the overall investment fund will be the $1 million three year MAP partnership. The key elements of the three year one million dollar partnership with MAP are as follows:
- A $20,000 annual scholarship will be provided to the Wade Institute for Entrepreneurship.
- There will be three outreach programmes targeted at three different demographics: rural areas, women and social entrepreneurs.
- Two new places for eCommerce businesses in the MAP Startup Accelerator. Just like others in the Accelerator, each startup will receive $20,000 in funding, office space, mentoring and access to local and international contacts.
“This is an investment in the future of entrepreneurship skills development at the University of Melbourne, and will add to our larger push to expand the innovation ecosystem across the University and in this city,” said Professor Davis, Vice Chancellor of University of Melbourne.
Davis believes that universities don’t just educate our future generations but they are also a production line of ideas for new entrepreneurs and new businesses. He added: “Harnessing the current mood around Australia’s innovation agenda is important, and this investment will go a long way to ensuring that start-up cultures like those at MAP continue to have a prominent role at the University.”
Image credit: Josh Parris, public domain