The 2021 CONNECT Hub finale – The Pitch Night!

Over the past 4 months the South West CONNECT Regional Innovation Hub cohort has attended fortnightly masterclasses, had sessions with their business mentors, and co-worked week to week, with the final part of the program culminating in the pitch night where startups present their businesses to a crowd of investors, fellow regional businesses, corporates, industry, and government.

Thank you so much to our un-sharky shark tank judges Simona Hughes from Financial Utilities, Kali Norman from Meshpoints and Rob Davis from South West Angels and Enginuity Consulting with their thoughtful questions and helpful feedback. 

Judges Simona Hughes, Kali Norman and Rob Davis
Sponsors Community Bank Busselton and Dunsborough David Johnston & Pauline Kelly, and Origins Market.

Mentor and CONNECT presenter Simona Hughes with CONNECT participant Charlotte O’Beirne

Through CONNECT Hub and other programs, Innovation Cluster has helped grow over 200 early-stage businesses in the last 3 years, the majority in the regions, and we are so pleased to have continued to build regional innovation and bring like-minded businesses together in 2021, some who have felt quite isolated in their entrepreneurial journey before joining our program. 

“I just wanted to say how impactful this program has been for us. We have had some difficult times over these past few months and honestly if it wasn’t for this program we would have given up. The amazing support and nurturing we got from this program is extraordinary and to be able to relate to the cohort and have an alumni that we know we will be connected to for a very long time is incredible. It is so worth every second of your time.”

Jodie Richards, Get Pickled and Get Shucked

We look forward to continuing to support this amazing cohort and watch their impact in regional communities over the next few years. 

Charlotte O’Beirne, Swimming Women: reaching into local communities to support women and change their lives pool by pool, town by town. 

Stepan Libricky, Stepladder Tourism: immersive and educational guest experience pathway to operational excellence, unique customer service proposition, deeper customer loyalty, and new revenue streams.
Darren Lee and Jodie Richards, Get Pickled Get Shucked: focusing on fun and unique experiences, premium West Australian oysters and pickled octopus. A young, growing businesses with premier events already under their belt.
Rod Marshall and Claire Parker, South West Biotech: uniquely circular solution to a huge waste problem. Black soldier fly farming to transform food and organic waste into low cost value added products such as high protein animal feed, fertiliser, oil, biodiesel, and other commercial products.
Joanne Edmond and Crystal-lee Dragicevich, Core of Wellbeing: combined 25 years experience in psychology focused on evidence based strategies from neuroscience and positive psychology. Providing a preventative approach supporting businesses and employers to build mental wellness in their employees, giving a positive productivity benefit to every single dollar invested. Online content, memberships and development of apps.
Kate Barrett, Beaming Beaver: creating a formulation for an organic and natural lubricant, with a unique trademarked ingredient that has not been used before.
Amanda Gardiner, Deep Walking Western Australia: interactive walking tour app specifically designed to showcase the unique histories and features of town and cities using AR technology including historical photographs, artworks and soundscapes.

Marion McRae, Building Better Backs: we spend $40 billion on back pain annually with misinformation, mismanagement andan obsession with quick fix solutions. We have redefined back pain and created a long term solution to get to the root of your problem with your own physio inside your pocket.

Thank you to our program partners RLG, NBN Local, Community Bank Busselton and Dunsborough, Origins Markets, South West Angels all of whom have enabled regional startups to access the Connect Innovation Hub program without fees or equity from thier businesses.


CONNECT Regional Innovation Hub is delivered by Innovation Cluster and supported by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development through the Groundswell program.

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