Amazon’s $80,000 grants to help SMBs innovate mid-crisis


Amazon grant innovation

News

By Verina Gading

Yesterday, Amazon opened the entry for Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants, which are worth more than $80,000 each. In September, the giant e-commerce business is going to choose five recipients of the grants.

The Amazon Launchpad program launched almost a year ago and aims to help Aussie startups and entrepreneurs bring innovative products to shoppers.

The grants will be particularly helpful and welcomed during this time where all business owners are needing to adapt or modify their business in some way.

The $80,000 valued grant includes a $20,000 cash grant, Amazon and AWS marketing support, and exclusive access to mentors such as Amazon leadership and entrepreneur experts from Australia and HQ in Seattle; time with successful e-commerce savvy Australian SMBs; and insights from angel investors in the Venture Capital community. 

Pushing innovations

Chadd Ciccarelli, Head of Launchpad, Amazon Australia said, “More than a quarter of SMBs (29%) said that the lack of available funding is the biggest barrier to innovating or growing the business for the remainder of 2020 and more than half (55%) lacked guidance or mentorship during this time.” 

He explained that during their first year of launching, especially over the past few months, he had seen more SMBs innovating in order to grow their businesses. He hoped that the grants will be useful to push new businesses to be more creative and innovative.

Related: Smarter funding alternatives to save many universities and startups

He said, “We hope that the new Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants will catapult a new wave of small businesses who have evolved during this time to continue creating and transforming products.”

How isolations changed SMB

Commissioned by Amazon Australia, the Amazon Launchpad Innovation Report explores the current sentiment amongst Australian SMB owners, how they evolved their businesses while in lockdown, and their plans as Australia travels the road to recovery. 

The research reveals that Australian SMBs have been innovating in times of uncertainty – with 28% of SMBs noting isolation helped them innovate for the future, refresh their business plan (35%) or focus on creativity (38%).

During this time, approximately a quarter of SMBs also said they were able to innovate by exploring new revenue streams or launching online.

Further, around 1 in 6 said they innovated by creating new products or transforming their products whilst 1 in 5 planned for or built a new business or product strategy to move forward. 

To help select the Amazon Launchpad Grant Recipients, Amazon Launchpad has recruited two SMB experts; Carl Hartmann, Serial Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of non-alcoholic company Lyre’s Non- Alcoholic Spirits and Renae Smith of healthy baking goods brand, Bake Mixes. 

On being an Innovations Grant judge, Hartmann said, “Having launched and built several startups, I know how exciting yet tough the journey is, especially this year with the economic impacts of the last few months. 

“I’m honoured to work with Amazon Launchpad and award the Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants to help small to medium businesses across Australia grow. I know the grant packages will go a long way in funding continued innovation as we’re on the road to recovery.” 


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