Winners of digital “fast pitch” program announced

fast pitch
Pitch your business idea sign on a memo stick.

St.George Bank has announced the winners of its 2020 Kick Start program, on the back of its first digital “fast pitch” competition.

The competition, held in partnership with TEDxSydney, saw 12 small-business owners and entrepreneurs vie for the program’s $100,000 grant pool prize across two categories – New Business Idea and New Idea for an Existing Business.

Businesses were judged based on their ability to respond to a customer or societal problem in a unique or innovative way while also driving positive impact in the local community. The winners also received funding of $40,000 to help bring their ideas to life.

Lactamo was announced as the winner for the New Business Idea award for its development of a lactation aid tool that combines temperature, movement, and compression in breast massage to address the issues that many mothers experience when breastfeeding.

“The highs and lows of starting your own business cannot be underestimated and this has been even more so this year with the challenges of COVID-19,” Etta Watts-Russell, founder of Lactamo – a fem-tech start-up – said.

“I am extremely grateful to be announced as the winner of this year’s Kick Start competition and the funding will go a long way in helping with Lactamo’s manufacturing and expansion strategy,” Watts-Russell added. “I’m excited to embark on a journey with the aim of giving mothers and babies the best possible experience together with the best possible success in breastfeeding.”

The New Idea for an Existing Business winner was awarded to Xceptional, a technology recruitment firm which is helping autistic people connect with meaningful careers.

“We’re so excited to be chosen as this year’s Kick Start winner,” Michael Tozer, Founder and CEO of Xceptional, said. “Scaling a for-purpose business in any year is tough work; this is especially true in the wake of COVID-19.

“We have focused on rejuvenating our team to help us think long term and adapting to our customer needs with the extraordinary growth in online talent assessment,” Tozer added. “The funding will help us to scale into two new industries, cyber and administration so that we can continue to connect people with disabilities to meaningful careers.”

Since 2014, the St.George Kick Start program has awarded $700,000 in grants to small-business owners and entrepreneurs to help them their business ideas to the next level.

“In what has been a challenging year, it’s fantastic to see the level of entrepreneurialism that’s still alive in Australia through our St.George Kick Start 2020 program,” Martine Jager, Chief Digital & Marketing Officer for St.George Bank and Westpac, said . “Small businesses play a critical role in our economy and local communities. Now more than ever, it is so important to help small businesses get started, by supporting new ideas and existing businesses to develop and grow.”