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Eight international student ventures awarded new scholarships worth $200,000

Media release

Monday 21 March 2022


$10,000 in seed funding and $20,000 of in-kind support, including coaching, mentoring and access to the StartSpace co-working space have been provided to eight winners of the Study Melbourne Future Founders Venture Scholarships.

Selected from a strong pool of applicants, eight future founders stood out for their ambitious and sustainable ideas and a clear understanding of their target market, problem-solving and progress to date.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, Mr. Steve Dimopoulos MP (representing Global Victoria and the Minister for Trade & Industry Support and Recovery, The Hon. Martin Pakula MP) and the Acting CEO of State Library Victoria, Sarah Slade, announced the winners and their new start-up concepts.

The Study Melbourne Future Founders Program is delivered by the State Library Victoria's StartSpace, and is designed to inspire international students and budding entrepreneurs and create opportunities for the next generation of business founders. These unique scholarships are designed to support current and recently graduated international student future founders. 

Global Victoria’s CEO, Gönül Serbest said she is proud to celebrate the new scholars for the 2022 program.

“The Study Melbourne scholarship ensures these early-stage founders have every opportunity to succeed by helping them build the networks and local knowledge needed to get their businesses off the ground.”

The recipients of Study Melbourne Future Founders Venture Scholarships include ideas ranging from biodegradable architectural materials derived from the residues of harvested seaweed, skincare, drinks and snacks made from Matcha tea, wine bottles to be made from a bioplastic and bacteria, and an okara flour (soybean pulp) concept.

The scholarships will enable the recipients to build a local network, understand the founder eco-system, learn from leading mentors, receive $10,000 equity-free seed funding and access to the StartSpace Loft facilities at the State Library.

State Library acting-CEO Sarah Slade said she is thrilled the library can assist these international student founders.

“It’s wonderful to see the Library’s StartSpace service in action, supporting these talented young people to build their networks and establish businesses in Victoria,” Ms Slade said.

Scholarship winner, Phycoforms founder Shimroth Thomas wants to make biodegradable building products from seaweed.

“It is an absolute honour to be selected as one of the eight scholars,” said Mr Thomas.

“As a recent international master’s graduate, trying to balance work to pay the bills and getting a start-up off the ground has been a struggle. This scholarship is exactly what I needed to help jumpstart my entrepreneurial journey with seaweed.”

“With this scholarship, I will be able to carry out the necessary lab tests that will help me understand the material properties of my seaweed biocomposite in comparison with the existing materials in the market. The results of these tests will be crucial in my journey to secure more funding and scale.”

The eight business winners are Phycoforms, Matcha Bae, Untwine, Soyful, Kido Paint, Deckle, Curatorial Collective and Vimi.

For further information about StartSpace and Study Melbourne Future Founder Venture Scholarships visit https://startspacehq.com/futurefounders/scholarship

For further information on Study Melbourne “Empowered” Programs visit https://www.studymelbourne.vic.gov.au/empowered

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