Left: Ahmed Fahour, director and group CEO of Australia Post
Australia Post has announced that it will invest an initial A$20m (US$14.4m) in emerging e-commerce businesses as part of an ongoing initiative to accelerate e-commerce innovation across Australia.
For the first stage of its initiative, Australia Post will partner with the University of Melbourne in a three-year A$1m (US$718,000) deal. The project will involve supporting the university’s Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) by providing two new places for e-commerce businesses in the MAP Startup Accelerator. Each business in the startup program receives A$20,000 (US$14,360) in funding, office space, mentoring and connections to local and international networks.
Australia Post will also fund a A$20,000 (US$14,360) annual scholarship to the Wade Institute for Entrepreneurship at the university, as well as three specific outreach programs targeting regional and rural areas, women and social entrepreneurs. The post hopes that the non-exclusive partnership will be the first of many with accelerators around Australia.
Ahmed Fahour, director and group CEO of Australia Post, said, “We will work with our people, our customers, the community and our partners to identify new opportunities and emerging, disruptive e-commerce businesses that we can accelerate.
“We will use the A$20m (US$14.4m) capital fund which with the success I expect could grow to more than A$100m (US$72m) over coming years to directly invest in great e-commerce businesses with ideas that will improve the lives of our customers.”
Professor Glyn Davis, vice-chancellor at the University of Melbourne, said, “We believe universities don’t just educate our future generations; they are a production line of ideas for new entrepreneurs and new businesses.
“Harnessing the current mood around Australia’s innovation agenda is important, and this investment will go a long way to ensuring that start-up cultures like those at MAP continue to have a prominent role at the university.
“This is an investment in the future of entrepreneurship skills development at the University of Melbourne, and will add to our larger push to expand the innovation ecosystem across the university and in this city.”
November 3, 2015