The winners of the Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants have been announced, with five Aussie small-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) winning grants worth $80,000 each to help them grow their businesses even further. The grants were awarded to entrepreneurs with unique products, with a common theme of sustainability and forward thinking.
The winners range from businesses producing children’s books with positive messages to biodegradable cling wrap, natural baby wipes, surfing handplanes made from recycled plastic and do-it-yourself pottery kits that encourage mental wellbeing.
Here’s what the Amazon Launchpad Grant winners have to say…
The Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants can help propel these innovative Australian start-ups and entrepreneurs forward through cash grants, mentorships and marketing support. Research carried out by Amazon Launchpad found that almost a third of SMBs said the lack of available funding was the biggest barrier to growing their business, so this was one of the reasons Amazon set up the grants program.
Here’s some more information about these inspiring Aussie entrepreneurs.
Great Wrap – biodegradable clingwrap
Great Wrap hails from Victoria and they initially launched the world’s first certified compostable and biodegradable pallet wrap. Once Australia went into lockdown, they pivoted and developed home compostable cling wrap as lifestyles changed and Aussies spent more time at home.
Jordy and Julia Kay, founders of the company said: “Great Wrap are 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.”
“It’s exciting to see our compostable cling wrap that started as just an idea benefit so many Australians and the environment, and with the help of the grant we’ll be able to expand our manufacturing in Australia and fast track developing more exciting products to take plastic out of landfill,” they added.
They are also working on a new version of the product that will be 100% plant based and partially made from food waste.
Crockd – DIY pottery kits
Coming from sunny Burleigh Heads in Queensland, Rosa-Clare Willis and Andrew Ford founded Crockd and launched 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.
Their philosophy is that with busy hands, a reflective state of mind, those who use their kits or ‘Crockers,’ will be able to talk more openly about their mental health amongst friends, family and workmates. As they say: “Our product is designed to bring people together to have conversations that they might otherwise be afraid to broach.”
When discussing winning the grant, Willis and Ford add: “We’re really excited by the mentorship component of the grant. We believe that Amazon’s team of mentors will enable us to fast track our growth – particularly into international markets. We will use the grant to expand our knowledge, reach and network. Ultimately helping us to achieve our mission of empowering more people to connect to themselves, to each other and to the benefits of hands-on creativity.”
Niki’s Natural Wipes – 100% natural
Niki’s Natural Wipes are located in Melbourne, Victoria and this Australian business has created the world’s first baby wipes which are 100 per cent natural. Suthan Naganayagam, Founder and CEO of Niki’s and Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grant recipient says: “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,” he adds.
WAW Handplanes – for bodysurfing
Hailing from sunny Marrickville in NSW, WAW Handplanes has created the first-ever Australian commercially-made product to be manufactured from traceable Australian ocean plastic waste, collected from the Great Barrier Reef.
Rikki Gilbey is the founder of WAW Handplanes and he says: “It’s great to see our BadFish body surfing handplane, made from recycled ocean plastic from the Great Barrier Reef, that started as just an idea which could benefit so many Australians and the environment.”
“With the help of an Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grant, we’ll be expanding and boosting our supply chain. We’ll 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 body surfing,” he adds.
Ethicool Books – children’s books which encourage social change
Ethicool are from Victoria and they publish children’s books about the world’s big issues and inspires kids to create positive change. Co-founder, Teigan Margetts, says: “The first 1000 days of our little ones’ lives are in many ways the most important; in these early years, their values, attitudes and ideas about life are formed and set in stone. We would love it if our books helped all Australian parents have important conversations with their children about the things that matter, and inspired kids to realise that they, too, can grow up and create positive change.”
She says that’s why they added in the action page at the end of every book: “This page discusses the issue, its impacts, and encourages children to find small ways they can help. To give you an example, one of our books, The Day We Went to Away, is a beautiful adventure story about the mythical land of ‘Away’ – the place things go when we throw them out. At the end of the story, the action page talks about just how much rubbish we throw away every year, and encourages kids to find ways to recycle, restore, and reuse as much as they can.”
The background behind these Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants
Amazon Launchpad began in August 2019 and the program works with innovative products from startups and entrepreneurs from around Australia and the world. The program makes it easier for startups to on-board, market and launch new products to Amazon customers.
Chadd Ciccarelli, Head of Launchpad, Amazon Australia says: “In the last year since launch in Australia, the Amazon Launchpad program on Amazon.com.au 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.”
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.
Carl Hartmann, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Spirits Co. says: “We saw hundreds of applications for the Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants and it was inspiring to see so many great ideas and products come out of Australia. It was a challenge to select only five recipients, however these five startups show huge potential in offering innovative products and I hope that the support from Amazon Launchpad can be the boost their business needs in these truly unique times.”
Each Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grant includes:
• $20,000 AUD cash grant.
• 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.
Participants benefit from custom product pages on the Amazon.com.au Launchpad store, marketing support and access to Amazon’s local fulfilment networking including Amazon Prime. Amazon Launchpad also gives Australian consumers a chance to discover and support local brands.