6 Days To Go Until Amazon Invests $200k In 5 SMBs

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Rosa-Clare Willis with co-founder Andrew Ford of Crockd

Amazon Australia is investing in small to medium businesses (SMBs) with five Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants valued at more than $200K each.

The Amazon Launchpad program is designed to support Aussie startups and entrepreneurs to expand their e-commerce capabilities and accelerate their growth and its initiative, the Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants, is now open to Aussie SMBs with applications closing in one week at 11.59pm AEST Monday May 10. To apply head to amazon.com.au/Launchpad.

Crockd founder Rosa-Clare Willis, winner of a 2020 Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grant with co-founder Andrew Ford, says the grant helped them grow their art therapy business across the country and even overseas in the States.

Rosa-Clare Willis with co-founder Andrew Ford of Crockd

Rosa-Clare Willis with co-founder Andrew Ford of Crockd

Rosa is now encouraging small businesses to apply to Amazon Launchpad, saying it helped them transform their business: “Prior to Amazon, we were managing everything from sales to distribution internally.”

Just six months into their journey as an e-commerce business, Amazon’s Innovation Grant could not have come at a better time for Crockd to help grow their brand.

“It was definitely a fast-tracked learning and growth experience with Amazon.com.au who we leaned on for their marketing and distribution channels. The innovation grant offered us an exclusive boot campaign experience showing us how Amazon can support us in a number of areas from marketing, access to new customers through to alleviating a lot of the logistics around our business. We now use Amazon in Australia and the USA to distribute our orders,” she says.

Rosa, who will be on the judging panel for the 2021 Innovation Grants, says they are looking for entrepreneurs from all parts of Australia: “We’ve found that often the most creative solutions and entrepreneurs come from the most unlikely places. We’re excited to see what kind of ideas have been born out of all the trials the entire country has faced in the past 12 months – whether they’re from regional, outer city to urban areas. A successful candidate to us not only has a great idea but has a long-term brand vision.”

chadd

What’s new about the Amazon Launchpad Grants this year? 

Chadd Ciccarelli, Head of Launchpad at Amazon Australia (above), says: “This year, we are giving away five Innovation Grants worth more than $200,000 each, to businesses who have been innovative over the past twelve months.”

“We want to help SMEs launch smarter, receive increased exposure and harness the benefits of e-commerce,” adds Chadd. “In Australia there is so much innovation brimming away across the country with almost a third of SMEs saying they invested in product or business innovation to reach new customers last year and 82 per cent saying they will lean into innovation to grow their business over the next 12 months.”

What’s more, finalists will have the opportunity to virtually pitch their entry to Amazon Australia HQ for the chance to win one of the grants.

Mentorship is a key component of the Amazon Launchpad program

Chadd explains it’s all about using Amazon’s world-class e-commerce expertise, global infrastructure and marketing tools to educate emerging Aussie brands and help them tell their story and deliver their products to a wider audience.

“This year’s recipients will have the opportunity to join an exclusive Amazon boot camp where they’ll have access to Amazon executives and industry experts who’ll provide a wide range of support from marketing, future growth planning, e-commerce to infrastructure and logistics,” says Chadd.

In conjunction with the grants, the 2021 Amazon Launchpad Innovation Report was launched revealing key insights around how SMBs have evolved over the past 12 months and are planning for the future:

The e-commerce opportunity: more than a third of SMBs said their customers are more open to buying online now than 12 months ago, 41% have seen an increase in online enquiries about their business over the past 12 months, and 15% of SMBs made a sale online for the first time ever in the past year. It’s all about innovation: to help navigate the uncertainty of the past twelve months, almost a third of SMBs said they invested in product or business innovation to reach new customers, and 82 per cent said they will lean into innovation to grow their business over the next 12 months. Top areas businesses are innovating in this year: 42% growing their digital presence, 39% taking their business into new markets and 33% revising product offering. Digital tools empower businesses for growth: 81% of SMBs will use digital tools to network over the next 12 months and more than two thirds will use online channels to seek investment in their business. What Aussie SMBs need most in 2021: businesses have rated access to new customers and support with marketing, advertising and social media activity over financial support. Additionally almost a third said they need help with future growth planning and innovation.

This year’s five Innovation grant packages are worth more than $200,000 each and they 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 Onsite marketing placements on amazon.com.au

Entries will be judged by Chadd Ciccarelli from Amazon Launchpad along with last year’s grant recipients: Rosa-Clare Willis and Andrew Ford from Crockd, Carolyn Creswell (below), founder of the country’s leading muesli brand Carman’s; and Kylie Frazer, managing partner of tech investment group Eleanor Ventures.

Carolyn Creswell

The five Amazon Launchpad grant recipients from across Australia will be publicly announced in June 2021. Don’t forget to apply at amazon.com.au/Launchpad.

 

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