Victoria supports the growth of the MassChallenge start-up accelerator in Australia

Pip Marlow, Managing Director, Microsoft Australia

I’m very excited to announce that the entry of MassChallenge – one of the world’s most important start-up acceleration programs – into Australia is fast gaining momentum.

Last week in Boston the Premier of Victoria, The Hon. Daniel Andrews MP, announced that his state will become a founding partner of the Bridge to MassChallenge program that will be held in Australia later this year. The announcement was made at Microsoft’s offices in Boston at an event attended by Premier Andrews as well as Microsoft President Brad Smith and MassChallenge President Mike LaRhette.

Microsoft has a vision that Australia – and the world – can do more to foster connections between all the players in the complex ecosystem that leads to the emergence of true innovations. That means researchers, entrepreneurs, businesses, investors, governments and more. Their ability to come up with new ideas and turn them into successful social and business enterprises is vital to the competitiveness of any country in today’s global economy.

For this reason, Microsoft has been a strong supporter of MassChallenge since it started in Boston in 2009. We’re delighted to now also be a founding partner of the Bridge to MassChallenge program in Australia, alongside the Australian Government and the South Australian Government.

MassChallenge is a not-for-profit organisation with a vision to drive economic growth by supporting innovative start-up businesses with the potential to make the highest impact. By the end of 2015, more than 835 start-ups had been through the program. Those start-ups raised US$1.3 billion in outside funding, turned over US$575 million and created 8,500 direct jobs and thousands more indirect jobs.

The organisation is now expanding internationally and running its intensive four-month accelerator programs and competitions for start-ups – complete with cash prizes – in four countries outside the US. It is also running introductory Bridge to MassChallenge programs in several other countries. Bridge to MassChallenge Australia will provide a path for Australian start-ups to join international programs and it is also expected to pave the way for a full MassChallenge program in Australia from 2017.

We were grateful to hear Premier Andrews acknowledge the role that Microsoft has played in MassChallenge’s success to date. “Without Microsoft’s strong support over such a long period of time, MassChallenge wouldn’t have reached out and created the ecosystem and the environment for so much profitability and enterprise,” he said at the event in Boston. “Who knows where some of these start-ups will take us in changing lives and changing our world.”

Our President Brad Smith also pointed to the significance of the event, saying: “There will come a time some years from now when we’ll look back at today and we’ll have the opportunity to celebrate a new generation of successes with a new generation of people and a new generation of jobs and companies that will have been created in the state of Victoria.”

Brad at MassChallenge announcement in Boston

Microsoft President Brad Smith speaking in Boston

The impact that MassChallenge has already had can be seen through the amazing start-ups coming out of its programs. Examples include Sanitation and Health Rights in India (SHRI), which works alongside communities in rural India to increase essential health infrastructure by providing access to toilets, and Maker’s Empire, a start-up from Adelaide that is helping educate kids in design thinking through the creation of easy-to-use 3D printing software.

We look forward to working with the Victorian Government and other supporters as MassChallenge gains momentum in Australia and leads to the creation of many more such exciting and purpose-driven organisations. Learn more and watch out for further information on the MassChallenge site at

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