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Exciting NSW award offers $5,000 cash prize to startups in the race to net-zero

The NSW Government has announced a partnership with one of Australia’s most prominent startup innovation hubs, Fishburners. The partnership will deliver the launch of Investment NSW’s Tech for Good Awards, which will reward startups tackling climate challenges in the “race to net zero.” 


Fishburners was established in 2011 by Mike Casey and Pete Davison, both successful entrepreneurs. After seeing a gap in the startup ecosystem the pair created Fishburners to encourage the use of technology to innovate and develop new products and services and create new jobs. All while fostering a vibrant community of like-minded entrepreneurs to share ideas and learn from each other.

Since its launch, Fishburners has put its name against 2,300 Australian startups, including household names, MadPaws, Car Next Door, and V2 Foods. Resident startups of Fishburners have created more than 5,211 jobs, generated $330m+ of revenue, and raised $342m+ of investment.

According to Fishburners, the startup sector offers an important opportunity for Australian industry. It stated that the sector has significantly contributed to jobs and growth in Australia. Moving into a greener future, it expects technology to exceed other economic parts, predicted to grow three times as fast as mining or manufacturing. 

Demonstrating this, Australia saw a rise in venture capital funding in the year between1 July 2020 and 1 July 2021. A record US$2.5 billion was provided in funding, up from US$1.95 billion in the previous year. 

Nicole O’Brien, CEO of Fishburners, “When you add our state’s economic strength, abundant natural resources, and innovation-ready business environment, the transition to a clean economy presents a wave of opportunity to scale-up great ideas and generate new jobs and investment.”

Tech for the future 

Startups are often home to the most innovative future-focused technology development. The sector is already a key area of providing solutions to the environmental challenges Australia faces. 

The new Tech for Good Awards will acknowledge startups across six different categories, including climate action, social justice, disability, and diversity and inclusion. 

The awards will recognise early-stage ventures using technology to make a positive difference to the world, a $5,000 cash prize from the NSW Government will be awarded to each winning startup.

Fishburners predicts that in the future tackling environmental, economic, and social challenges will be the focus for Aussie startups.

Minister for Jobs, Investment Tourism and Western Sydney, and Minister for Trade and Industry Stuart Ayres said he hoped the new awards would encourage and reward startups solving these challenges. 

“These awards will identify, acknowledge and promote Australia’s most ambitious and successful startups, which are tackling the nation’s most pressing environmental, economic and social challenges,” Mr Ayres said.

Ms O’Brien said, “Looking to the next ten years, we know that to succeed, startups will need to remain at the forefront of a tech-enabled future and focus innovations towards sustainable development and ongoing social and economic wellbeing.

“Together with the NSW Government and Investment NSW, we’re asking emerging businesses in this space to join us in the nation’s race to net zero because the opportunities are there, momentum is building, and with the right support, we know this sector will help solve some of our greatest challenges.”

Read more:Revolutionary startup harnesses technology to fight loneliness

Read more:Australian startups form Envirotech Alliance in wake of climate crisis

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Heidi Heck

Heidi Heck

Heidi Heck is a Journalist at Dynamic Business. She is a student at the University of Queensland where she studies Journalism and Economics. Heidi has a passion for the stories of small business, as well as the bigger picture of economics.

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