There’s no denying 2020 has been a challenging year for all Australians, and the impact has been notably felt by small and medium sized businesses (SMBs).
As ‘pivoting’ became more than just a buzzword, it has been a testament to Australian SMBs who have shown true resilience and the power to innovate to support our changing way of life.
To help small and medium-sized businesses continue to grow and propel them forward as they adjust their plans, processes and products, Amazon.com.au’s program Amazon Launchpad has awarded five entrepreneurs across Australia with Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants. You can shop the winning products here
The winning grant recipients, are:
Great Wrap (Albert Park, VIC) - After developing the world’s first certified compostable and biodegradable pallet wrap, the business quickly worked with their manufacturer to bring in a home compostable cling wrap in lockdown. They have also been working on a new version of the product that will be 100% plant based and partially made from food waste.
“Great Wrap is so excited be awarded an Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grant. It has been a tough year but we have been overwhelmed with positive affirmation from around Australia and to receive this grant really just pushes us to keep working even harder.”
Crockd (Burleigh Heads, QLD) – Created the world’s first DIY Pottery Kit designed to stimulate the effects of art therapy at home and help millennials get out of their head and into their hands. With busy hands, a reflective state of mind and the use of carefully curated “Clay Breakers” conversation starters, Crockers are able to talk more openly about their mental health amongst friends, family and workmates.
Rosa-Clare Willis, Co-founder of Crockd said, "We at Crockd are so excited to be awarded an Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grant, especially during a year that has been tough for many businesses.
"It's great to see our DIY Pottery Kit that started as just an idea benefit so many Australians during a difficult time. With the help of the mentorship component of the grant in particular, we believe we'll be able to fast-track our growth into international markets and achieve our mission of people empowerment"
Ethicool Books (Park Orchards, VIC) – Publishes remarkable children's books about the world's big issues and inspires kids to create positive change. Each beautiful book includes an action page that discusses the issue and encourages little ones to explore what they can do to make a difference.
Teigan Margetts co-founder of Ethicool said, “We at Ethicool are so excited be awarded an Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grant, especially during a year that has been both the best and worst year to launch an e-commerce start-up. The past few months have seen a surge in online sales, but at the same time, shipping and logistics have been really challenging.
“We’re in the process of expanding into the USA and the Launchpad grant will help us accelerate our plans to do that. As an online children’s book retailer, we couldn’t have asked for a more fitting partner in Amazon.com.au to help us on our journey to inspire more children to create change through our books.”
WAW Handplanes (Marrickville, NSW) – Created the WAW Badfish Bodysurfing handplane, the first-ever Australian commercially made product to be manufactured from traceable Australian ocean plastic waste, collected from the Great Barrier Reef.
Rikki Gilbey, founder of WAW Handplanes said, “It’s great to see our BadFish bodysurfing handplane, made from recycled ocean plastic from the Great Barrier Reef, that started as just an idea benefit so many Australians and the environment.
"With the help of an Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grant, we will be expanding and boosting our supply chain. We will be cleaning more beaches, processing more ocean plastics, and manufacturing more handplanes to meet our growing demand. Down the line, we hope to use the momentum of this grant to also create new product lines utilising our ocean plastics supply chain. The grant is going to help us create cleaner Australian beaches and get more Australians bodysurfing."
Niki’s Natural Wipes (Burwood East, VIC) – The Australian business created the world’s first baby wipes that are 100 per cent natural and utilise Manuka Honey essence and Coconut Oil to promote skin health for children.
While the grant can help each business drive innovation, the hurdles haven’t stopped, with Great Wrap unable to continue manufacturing due to the Melbourne lockdown restrictions.
Suthan Naganayagam, Founder and CEO of Niki’s said, “We at Niki’s are so honoured to be awarded an Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grant especially during a year that has been tough for many businesses.
“As an Australian company with a world first baby wipe product we are blessed to have Amazon Australia’s support which can help propel businesses not only in Australia but across the world. This grant will help us increase our exposure in global markets while also assisting us with the development of new and complementary product lines.”
The five grant recipients were selected with the help of two SMB experts and Amazon Launchpad sellers: Carl Hartmann, Co-founder of non-alcoholic company Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Spirits; and Renae Smith of healthy baking goods brand, Bake Mixes.
Each Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grant includes:
· $20,000 AUD cash grant
· An exclusive Amazon SMB experience – Exclusive access to Amazon leadership from Australia and HQ in Seattle, access to Amazon’s startup and entrepreneur experts, time with successful e-commerce savvy Australian SMBs, insights from angel investors, and exclusive networking opportunities
· Amazon Advertising display credits – to promote the winning product on Amazon.com.au
· AWS credits through the AWS Activate program - which also provides startups with benefits like technical support and training to help founders grow their business
Chadd Ciccarelli, Head of Launchpad, Amazon Australia said, “Amazon Launchpad is a program that helps startups and entrepreneurs bring innovative products to local customers who are looking for unique items with a homegrown twist. In the last year since launch in Australia, Amazon Launchpad has helped small businesses grow and reach new customers. We wanted to champion entrepreneurs and SMBs across Australia who are continuing to innovate during these challenging times and help accelerate them even further with the Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants.”