Applications are now open for Amazon Launchpad’s 2021 Innovation Grants, designed to help local startups, entrepreneurs and SMBs bring innovative products to customers.
This year’s five innovation grant packages are worth more than $200,000 each and include a $20,000 cash grant, Amazon advertising support, an exclusive boot camp experience with access to Amazon experts, a national advertising package with JCDecaux Nurture, industry mentorship, and onsite marketing placements on Amazon.com.au.
For the first time, Amazon Launchpad will allow ten finalists to virtually pitch their entry direct into Amazon Australia HQ, to a panel of judges including Chadd Ciccarelli (Amazon Launchpad), last year’s grant recipients Rosa-Clare Willis and Andrew Ford (Crockd); Carolyn Creswell (Carman’s); and Kylie Frazer (Eleanor Ventures).
Amazon Australia head of Launchpad, Chadd Ciccarelli believes lockdown restrictions have fast tracked the digitalisation of Australian business.
“Amazon Launchpad is a unique program that helps start-ups and entrepreneurs reach their online potential, whether they live in Broken Hill, Tasmania or Far North Queensland. We hope that this year’s Innovation Grants will nurture the ingenuity that local entrepreneurs are famous for and help the winners grow their businesses through ecommerce,” he said.
New research from Amazon Launchpad shows that almost 9 in 10 local SMBs (89%) are feeling more resilient in running their business compared to 12 months ago, while 92% feel optimistic for the year ahead and more than three quarters of SMBs (78%) will use ecommerce and digital tools to allow them to work from anywhere.
Commissioned by Amazon Australia, the 2021 Amazon Launchpad Innovation Report explores the current sentiment among Australian SMB owners, how they have evolved their businesses over the past 12 months, and a look towards the year ahead.
More than one-third of SMBs (39%) said their customers are more open to buying online than 12 months ago with 41% experiencing an increase in online enquiries and one in six (15%) making a sale online for the first time ever in the past year.
The report found that the three top areas where businesses will innovate this year are growing their digital presence (42%), taking their business into new markets (39%) and revising product offering (33%).
To help navigate the uncertainty of the pandemic, almost one-third of SMBs (30%) said they invested in product or business innovation to reach new customers and 82% said they will lean into innovation to grow their business over the next 12 months.
More than four in five SMBs (81%) will use digital tools to network over the next 12 months and more than two-thirds (69%) will use online channels to seek investment.
The Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants entry period is open now until 11.59pm AEST, 10 May 2021.
Image: 2020 recipients of the Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grant, Rosa-Clare Willis and Andrew Ford, founders of Crockd.