“Winning the Amazon Innovation Grant last year helped us to accelerate our growth more rapidly. The components of the grant, such as the mentorship, advertising credits and financial support meant that we were able to really focus our time and energy on what mattered,” says Rosa-Clare Willis co-founder of Crock’d and one of the winners of an Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grant in 2020.
“By the end of the Launchpad Program we had expanded internationally, completely re-invented our packaging, streamlined our distribution through Amazon’s FBA and of course, opened ourselves up to a new omnichannel marketing strategy,” she said.
Applications for 2021 Launchpad Innovation Program now open
Innovative small businesses and startups looking to replicate Crock’d success are in luck, as Amazon Launchpad has today announced applications are now open for the 2021 Launchpad Innovation Grants.
This year’s grants are delivering an extra opportunity for finalists with the chance to virtually pitch their products to Amazon Australia HQ as they vie for a grant package worth more than $200,000 . What’s included? A $20,000 cash grant, Amazon advertising support, an exclusive Amazon boot camp experience with access to Amazon experts, a national advertising package with JCDecaux Nurture and access to industry experts and onsite marketing placements on Amazon.com.
Like Bootcamp for business
Rosa tells Kochie’s Business Builders (KBB) the Launchpad initiative is perfect for business owners who are serious about e-commerce.
“Consider the program a bootcamp of selling online, not just on Amazon. You’ll learn how to scale your marketing across multi-channels, and develop a product that’s easy to distribute through Amazon FBA of course.”
Rikki Gilbey cofounder of WAW BadFish, another successful participant from 2020, says Launchpad helped their brand succeed during COVID.
“We have experienced an uptake in sales of the WAW BadFish beyond our expectations since joining the Amazon Launchpad,” he says.
“Our online orders and eCommerce revenue is up well over 100 per cent on last year, and a large part of that can be attributed to joining Amazon. Not only through direct sales but also the awareness the Launchpad has created around our brand and products.
“Currently our sales directly through Amazon equate to around 15 per cent of our total eCommerce revenue, which when you consider we only launched on the platform six months ago is incredible,” Rikki adds.
Helping businesses expand their reach
Rikki too encourages other startups to take part, saying a real bonus of the program was the access it gave WAW to a global market
“Not long after joining the Amazon Australia Launchpad, we also applied for and were successful in, joining the US Amazon Launchpad and we fully plan to expand even further into the UK, Europe and beyond.
“Through the educational aspect of the Amazon Launchpad Grant, we have been able to seek advice, listen and learn from some incredibly successful entrepreneurs and business advisors. Which were both super helpful and inspiring, teaching us to pursue new goals, innovate to adapt to change and installing confidence in our products.”
Chadd Ciccarelli, Head of Launchpad at Amazon Australia said more and more small businesses have turned to eCommerce to trade during the pandemic and Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants deliver a fantastic opportunity for Aussie startups.
“There is so much innovation brimming across Australia right now and over the past 12 months, we’ve seen incredible resilience and fortitude from small businesses all over the country.
“This year the Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants has returned to acknowledge businesses that have demonstrated an especially forward-thinking approach during a time of extraordinary challenge and change,” Ciccarelli said.
How Amazon helps business get in front of customers
Since Amazon.com.au launched its online store in December 2017, it has had a strong focus on growing its offering of Australian products and services. To date, there are over 10,000 Australian selling partners who are selling direct to customers through Amazon.
“Amazon.com.au.Sellers are an integral part of Amazon’s DNA, and have grown to more than 50 per cent of paid units sold globally. By selling in our store, small businesses don’t need to invest in a physical store or the costs of customer discovery, acquisition, and driving customer traffic to their branded websites,” explains Ciccarelli.
“Around the world, Amazon has invested billions of dollars in infrastructure and technical services that help support the growth and success of our selling partners. We provide innovative tools and services to help small businesses and entrepreneurs succeed in selling online.”
Finalists to pitch to Amazon HQ
Ciccarelli will head up the judging panel at Amazon HQ. There, the 10 finalists will pitch their wares to other startup luminaries including Carolyn Creswell, founder of the country’s leading muesli brand Carman’s; and managing partner, Kylie Frazer, of tech investment group, Eleanor Ventures and last year’s grant recipients Rosa-Clare Willis and Andrew Ford from Crock’d.
“We’ll be looking out for businesses that come from all corners of Australia” comments Rosa. “We know that a lot of small businesses had to get creative with their response to COVID 19 so we’re excited to see what kind of ideas were born out of the tough times.
“You’ve got to be in it to win it, and to any small business out there, whose wondering whether they should apply for a grant, I say, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!”
Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants open today. Applications close 11.59pm AEST, 10 May. Apply now at www.Amazon.com.au/Launchpad. Five grant recipients will be announced in June 2021.
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