Brisbane startup attends Richard Branson’s Virgin accelerator program

Brisbane startup attends Richard Branson’s Virgin accelerator program

April 3, 2018 – QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) continues to solidify its partnership with Richard Branson’s Virgin StartUp (VSU) and its UK based mini-accelerator program.

VSU is a not-for-profit organisation that supports entrepreneurs across the United Kingdom who are looking to start and grow a business with advice, funding and mentoring.

Brisbane’s very own Peppermint Magazine was selected by CEA to take part in the exclusive world-class mini-accelerator, StepUp.

Peppermint’s success story began to take shape in 2008. Their expansion meant that a bigger office was needed and so they took up residency at CEA’s coworking space, The Coterie. The magazine was initially founded to bridge the gap between sustainability and style and almost ten years later, is now the leading environmental fashion and lifestyle magazine in Australia.

Kelley Sheenan, Founder and Editor in Chief at Peppermint Magazine, recently travelled to London to take place in the mini-accelerator, where she attended workshops and networked with some of the world’s leading startup experts.

“The program had such a high calibre of speakers including other entrepreneurs and business owners who’d been through similar experiences and come out the other side,” said Ms Sheenan.

“The biggest myth in the startup community is assuming that everyone knows what they’re doing. The truth is, no one really does and despite the fact that I’ve heard this from numerous speakers over the years, it was such a relief to hear this again at the program from extremely successful business minds”.

“Being a business founder can be really isolating at times, so it was a great experience to network with others in the same boat,” she said.

CEA’s acting CEO Mark Gustowski says he’s extremely proud of the VSU partnership as it provides a rare opportunity to outstanding Australian startups to gain international experience and insights.

“By having startups from across our ecosystem attend VSU, they’re able to build relationships and form a deeper understanding of the requirements to enter the European and UK markets,” said Mr Gustowski.

“The Virgin partnership is just one of many ways we support startups as they grow and diversify. Throughout the year we place startups in programs and events around the world to give them the runway to fully explore global networking opportunities. This is part of our commitment to putting founders first so they have access to new ways of thinking from the best thought leaders internationally.”

“In early May we’ll be opening applications for our pinnacle event, Creative3 Pitch. The winner of the pitch with be awarded with flights and accommodation in London for them to take part in VSU’s StepUp. They’ll also secure their place at the Creative Business Cup in Copenhagen where they will represent Australia and have the chance to be seen by top investors the world over,” says Mr Gustowski.

“No one else in Australia is offering these placements and it’s been incredibly gratifying to see those who’ve gone through those channels experience a trajectory to rapid growth. We are proud to provide this to startups who demonstrate true grit”, said Mr Gustowski.

Founded in 2013 by Sir Richard Branson the Virgin StartUp program has provided over 18 million in loan funding to 1,650 entrepreneurs, hosted hundreds of workshops and masterclasses and facilitated several thousand attendees.

CEA is the only Australian enterprise with the right to place selected Australian startups into the StepUp accelerator.

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