Media release | 18 June 2019
Newcastle startup Uukoo will head to Sydney to take on the best regional startups in NSW after winning the Newcastle leg of the Jobs for NSW Regional Pitchfest – Australia’s largest pitch competition for regional startups.
Minister for Jobs Stuart Ayres said Uukoo, which has created a digital application to treat people with dementia, has secured an all-expenses paid trip to a three-day Regional Bootcamp at the Sydney Startup Hub on 12-14 August.
From there, five finalists will be selected to compete for a share of $20,000 in cash and prizes at the NSW State final in Wagga Wagga in September.
“Congratulations to Uukoo for winning the Newcastle Regional Pitchfest which is showcasing the entrepreneurial talent that is on offer in our regions,” Mr Ayres said.
“Regional NSW is filled with smart innovators whose ideas and drive can help create new jobs and businesses for the future. Events like this help build upon a growing culture of entrepreneurship in our regional communities.
“Jobs for NSW has also invested $2.1 million in a Local Innovation Network of incubators to help develop businesses in the Newcastle, Armidale, Byron Bay, Bathurst, Coffs Harbour, Wollongong and Wagga Wagga regions.”
Uukoo Founder and CEO Susan Ryan said winning the Newcastle pitchfest provided a launch pad to pitch to an expert panel and take the business to the next level.
“This has been a great experience and we will be putting our best foot forward at the Regional Bootcamp for a chance to pitch at the state final in Wagga Wagga,” Ms Ryan said.
"My Dad was diagnosed with dementia in 2007 and and was later wrongly medicated with antipsychotic drugs. There is so much more we must do to assist families and care organisations to tailor care and increase social inclusion for our loved ones."
Regional Pitchfest founder Di Somerville said the winner of the inaugural Regional Pitchfest in 2016 was a 13-year-old high school student, Michael Nixon, who founded educational company Edukits.
“Michael has since grown Edukits into a successful company and The Amazing Annoyatron, an educational kit which teaches kids coding skills, is now being sold in 15 countries around the world,” Mrs Somerville said.
Minister Ayres said the Jobs for NSW Regional Pitchfest was about unearthing the next big business ideas from regional NSW.
“We hope to assist more budding entrepreneurs to grow and eventually take on global markets as a result of this year’s Regional Pitchfest,” Mr Ayres said.