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About Startup Shakeup

Startup Shakeup is a not for profit that helps regional innovators and their communities grow.

We connect startups, small businesses, innovators and advisors – because together we make great ideas happen in regional Australia.

There are plenty of people with innovative ideas that have extraordinary potential. They just need the right information, inspiration, connections and support to succeed. And that’s what we’re here for!

What's different about Startup Shakeup?

Right now 97% of Victorian startups are based in metropolitan Melbourne. And of the 55% of small businesses who are innovation-active, 24% are still at development stage and 15% have abandoned it. But not for long.

We are making it easier for innovative businesses to start, evolve and thrive in the regions.

Everything we offer is designed for regional people and delivered in regional communities. Because your postcode shouldn’t stand in the way of your business success.

Starting a new idea and launching outside a capital city brings unique challenges. We understand what this means and take the time to understand where you are at and listen to what you need next. Then we connect you to the networks and opportunities to make it happen.

And we continue to support you at every stage of your business journey, whenever you need us.

Startup Shakeup began in 2018 and we’ve supported over 150 regional innovators, startups and small businesses through our programs*. And we’re just getting started.

“Since foundation in 2018 Startup Shakeup has worked with over 150 Startups, Innovators and small businesses , many of whom are still going today.. A random sample of 17in late 2022 found they had a total of 39.3 paid staff (with 5.7 unpaid) and a combined turnover of just over $3M (with 5 being pre-revenue). .”

Our People

Supporting Regional Innovation

Our team at Startup Shakeup are all passionate about inspiring and accelerating regional innovation. With programs giving the support you need at the point you need it, we bring a wealth of regional, national and international experience and connections to our work with startups and small business. Our focus is helping your business use innovation, bringing ideas to life and leveraging growth.


“Change starts within. Startup Shakeup and Click Region are here to inspire you, encouraging you to learn, grow and develop so you can deliver outcomes you’ll be proud of. ”

Bree Nightingale

Program Manager

Bree brings a diverse working career and has had her own networking marketing business, with valuable insights into marketing plus what it take to run your own business. She acknowledges the complexity and importance of understanding our regional communities, is passionate about small businesses thriving, and enthusiastic about encouraging small businesses online.


“Regional issues are global issues; our aim is to find the global solve regionally.”

Melissa Antony


Melissa has worked nationally and internationally, from big business to small family businesses. She also has owned her own business, so she understands the highs and lows of doing it all within your business and trying to become an expert in all things relevant. Mel is passionate about the ever-changing landscape of technology and enjoys bringing you tips and tricks in helpful ways.

Jackie Morgan website photo(1)

“Each challenge is an opportunity, and every innovation propels us forward. “

Jackie Morgan

Program Manager

As an accomplished professional with hands on experience specialising in marketing, sales and the development of existing and start-up operations, Jackie’s interest in business and community are built on a personal understanding.
Her easy to understand, friendly and supportive approach is an easy fit for our organisation and reflects her enviable reputation for empowering others by cutting through the ‘tech-talk’ to close the digital gap and help them implement highly effective digital media and marketing strategies.


“At Startup Shakeup we ardently believe in regional innovation and potential, offering connections and support that are open to all”

Ilena Young


Ilena founded a tourism startup at 24, winning a young entrepreneurs award. After coming to work in Australian academia, she developed a passion for regional Australia. Regional areas are diverse and innovative with many opportunities and Ilena has deep understanding of how these are enhanced and enabled by innovation to create vibrant and resilient regions.

Our Board

Supporting Regional Innovation

Our Board shares a vision of dynamic and innovative regions in which Startups and innovative small businesses thrive in a business ecosystem nurturing sustainable growth and strong communities.

Chris Howe website photo

“Regional Australia is a font of knowledge for innovation and creativity.”

Chris Howe

Board Director


A Chartered Accountant and partner in Belmores Accounting Yarrawonga, Chris provides a range of accounting and business advisory services to farming and regional businesses in North East Victoria and South West NSW. He was the inaugural treasurer of North East Agcare Rural Financial Counselling Service. Chris has a broad acre farming background and is involved in many community organisations.

Fiona Marshall website photo

“There are so many resources available, and the community is strong. You’re not alone. The passion our team feels for building your confidence and skill sets is contagious. I dare you to not catch it”

Fiona Marshall

Board Director

Fiona farms with her family in the Rennie area north of Mulwala. They are broadacre, dryland grain growers also operating a prime lamb enterprise. Fiona is a life-long learner with a background in applied science and education. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the NFF Diversity in Ag Leadership Program, the Grains Social Leadership Program and most recently the Farmers for Climate Action Climate Smart Agriculture Scholarship. Fiona is the Chair of Riverine Plains Farming Systems Group, has served on the GRDC Southern Panel and is very involved in her local community. She is passionate about building skills and capacity within rural communities.

Steve Cohen Profile Logo

“Ready to grow and thrive? Startup Shakeup will connect you to a community of like mined individuals.”

Steve Cohen

Board Chair

Stephen spent 30 years as a dairy farmer including 9 years as secretary of the local Landcare group and 17 years on the Board of an agricultural co-operative. He now lives in Tatura and runs a retail business while continuing a long history of community involvement as Chair of GV Agcare and representing the Goulburn Valley on the Board of AgBiz Assist.

Our Current and Past Partners, Sponsors and Collaborators

Part of what we do at Startup Shakeup work is help coordinate innovation efforts across the region, and our work would not be possible without our partners, sponsors, and collaborators who not only contribute financially but who also give generously of their time.

Interested in supporting Startup Shakeup and our community? We'd love to hear from you.