Tech Entrepreneurship Program Launches Victoria right into a New Period


Melbourne (APRIL 13, 2021): In response to the economic, societal and employment challenges facing the world, and especially Victoria, Australia in 2020, YBF partnered with the Victorian government to create the YBF startup Launching Immersion Program (SIP) – A First A unique pilot program in Australia that aims to train seasoned business professionals with entrepreneurial roles and skills.

At the time of launch in October 2020, the program was overwhelmed with applications – more than 500,000 people were displaced from their jobs as a result of the pandemic in Victoria [source: IBISWorld] and another three million Australian workers looking to change careers after COVID-19 [source: ING Future Focus Report].

Ultimately, 21 participants were selected to pilot the program, which was led by Kate Eriksson, Chief Program Officer of YBF, a former PwC partner and head of disruption. Before that, she headed the innovation center of telecommunications giant Ericsson in Silicon Valley.

Kate Eriksson said, “Working with the Victorian government on the pilot of the YBF Startup Immersion Program has been a tremendous success. Australia could be the world leader in converting seasoned business talent to launch or accelerate the growth of Australian startups. The benefits for Victoria are immense – with the result that more entrepreneurial talent, faster growth of startups is created by injecting seasoned talent into startups and new startup companies. The caliber of the participants was excellent. “

Within a week of completing the program, initial results indicated that 40% of the cohort were employed in growth or Australian scale-up roles, 40% were continuing new startup projects, and 100% of the participants and experts involved would recommend the program.

“We have found that there is interest from corporate executives who want to be more entrepreneurial and growth-oriented, from professionals who move into the startup or scale-up sector and want to drive growth in a hands-on manner, as well as seasoned professionals with a wealth of experience want to know how I can start my own business, ”continued Eriksson.

The YBF Startup Immersion Program is unique in bringing the worlds of business, startups, technology and innovation together, providing knowledge, practical new tools and connections.

The pilot project involved working with 12 startup companies and their founders, 21 mentors, as well as experienced startup and technology speakers and entrepreneurs.

The program was designed and run by YBF’s Executive Leadership Team – a team of former entrepreneurs, founders and executives from GE, Motorola, BP, PwC, Ericsson and Westfarmers.

The curriculum continued to be delivered by visiting teachers from some of the leading startups and scaleups in Australia. Topics and overview of the innovation landscape, growth companies and business models, fast idea validation, business start-ups, raising capital, marketing, data and technology, scaling and building cross-functional teams.

Michael Cameron, co-founder of travel tech startup Rome2rio, who left the company in 2019, and a guest speaker for the YBF Startup Immersion Program, said, “The cliché founder is that of a bright, young college dropout, but the reality is that startups often rely on seasoned professionals Company experience are dependent on in order to advance to successful scale-ups. “

After completing the founding phase, the participants had the opportunity to practice their newly acquired skills and experience in a high-growth company. Recruitment companies included Tradeplus24, Mr Yum, Juli, Who Gives a Crap, Marketplacer, Lucidchart, 7-Eleven, and Elenium.

After their hands-on experience in a startup, participants formed their own startups under the guidance of some of Victoria’s leading technology and industry leaders, investors and founders, including the Hon. Philip Dalidakis, former MP and current non-executive director of the Center for Strategy in Asia -pacific area; Ayala Domani, General Manager, Future Business at AGL Energy; Stuart Harker, chairman of Ball Magnets, Slyp and Tutch Australia; Dr. Omaru Maruatona, founder and CEO of cybersecurity startup Aiculus; Stefani Adams, Australia Post’s director of product innovation; Matthew Barret, Head of Innovation at 7-Eleven Australia; Karen Finch, Founder and CEO of Legal Yours; Adam Vise, Australian Unity Group Treasurer and Director of Birchal; Maxine Lee, COO of Skalata Ventures; and Hakan Eriksson, former CEO of Ericsson Australia, Group CTO Ericsson, President Ericsson Silicon Valley and CTO of Telstra.

The participants graduated in March 2021.

The Hon. Philip Dalidakis said of the program and its participants: “There is nothing more inspiring than working with people who risk everything to make their dreams a reality.

“Thank you to YBF Ventures for running the program and being able to do just that.”

Adam Vise, Group Treasurer of Australian Unity and Director of Crowdfunding Leader Birchal, said, “The immersion pilot demonstrated the ability and value of any professional, using their skills and experience to turn the entrepreneurial engine room accelerate their careers, the startups that they help and the Australian economy in general. The entire Birchal team is committed to the YBF program and to this cause via the Birchal platform. “

Maxine Lee, COO of Skalata Ventures: “The YBF Startup Immersion Program creates important and valuable connections between the Australian company and startup / scaleup teams with ambitions to grow.”

Karen Finch, a legal technology expert, founder of Legal Yours and host of Silicon Beach, which has over 25,000 members across Australia, said, “This program has been absolutely fantastic and I love the way the YBF team is running the program as a considered the beginning of possibilities for all involved. It was honestly one of the best programs I’ve seen in the country.

“In my opinion, the YBF Startup Immersion Program is one of the most important and important programs for the growth and success of startups and scaleups in Australia. Participants’ skills, along with YBF’s world-class startup immersion program, form a group of high-level, skilled entrepreneurs and founders who will continue to transform the landscape of the Australian startup ecosystem. “

James Douglas, Investment Director at Acorn Capital and a mentor for the YBF Startup Immersion Program, said, “Building a strong startup ecosystem is incredibly important for Australia. As a company founder, I’ve seen the benefits that can come from this, especially as companies start to scale. The YBF Startup Immersion Program is an excellent way to further improve this ecosystem and help participants develop an understanding of the sector and the relevant skills and networks. I was thrilled to be part of the program as a mentor. Congratulations to YBF on creating the program and to the Victorian Government for the vision to support it. “

Many of the participants will continue on their way to starting their own entrepreneurial company, some have received innovation jobs at large companies as part of the SIP course, and some have been given permanent positions in the start-up or scale-up they operate – Recruitment companies offered with as part of the SIP program.

Pam Rebecca, one of the attendees, non-executive director of Defense Bank and former director of strategy, innovation and digital at World Vision, said, “What a great experience it was! It was a privilege to be one of the first cohorts and to have worked with so many talented people. Many thanks to YBF Ventures and especially to Kate Eriksson for creating this outstanding program for building entrepreneurial skills in seasoned executives. I look forward to starting my own business, and I look forward to following my colleagues in their endeavors as well. “

Adrian Vandenbergh, former Boeing financial analyst and member of the first SIP cohort, said, “Such an empowering and inspiring program.”

Megan Fisher, SIP participant and former director of digital and innovation at AusNet Services, said, “It was a pleasure to be part of such a groundbreaking program.”

Michelle Letho, a member of the first cohort to explore the startup world, said: “[I’m] The privilege of piloting the YBF Startup Immersion Program and delving deep into the world of tech startups and innovations. I look forward to continuing my startup concept and building a team. Thanks to the YBF leadership team for providing a phenomenal curriculum. “

Stephen Palmer, participant and former Executive General Manager of Sensis, said, “A big thank you to YBF Ventures for developing such an innovative and mind-expanding program. The thought of starting your own startup or working in a startup feels equally exciting, exhilarating, and terrifying. The YBF program provides valuable guidance, practical advice, tools, tips, encouragement, and confidence. It was really inspiring to end up working in startups and scaleups. Most importantly, a network of super smart people has been created to support each other’s dreams and business success. “

Conrad Braganza, member of the first cohort, AI specialist and former sales director at Accenture Australia, said: “It has been a fantastic journey to work with YBF Ventures and the startup community of consultants / mentors. A journey that innovated and created economic value for the Victorian economy. “

Alejandra Chamorro, engineer and former employee of Caltrex, Viva Energy and Shell, said: “It was a great pleasure to be a member of this pilot. The experience empowered me and changed my life. “

Farley Blackman, CEO of YBF Ventures, said, “Thank you to Kate Eriksson for leading and delivering such an important program. to the mentors for their time and guidance; and to the placement company for their commitment to innovation. And the biggest congratulations to all SIP participants – you are all really inspiring. “

The YBF Startup Immersion Program will become an integral part of YBF’s new branch of education and round off existing innovation programs and hubs, including the LawTech Hub (a partnership with Lander & Rogers); SquareGrape (a partnership with Treasury Wine Estates); and the YBF Fintech Hub (a partnership with the Victorian Government).

YBF is currently developing the next iteration of the program after the successful pilot project. Interested parties can send an email

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