Don't miss South West's "Shark Tank"

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The South West will host its very own version of Shark Tank on Thursday March 21, with the second Ideas Place Pitch Night to be held in Port Fairy.

Five emerging entrepreneurs will have five minutes to pitch their innovative business idea to a panel of judges, with a total pool of up to $23,000 in seed funding available.

Sherri Symons won the first pitch night in July last year, with her idea to use low-grade wool as an organic fertiliser earning her $10,000 in seed funding.

Since that time, she said her business has gone from strength to strength.

“It's absolutely thriving - it's growing exponentially,” she said.

“It's very difficult for a product-based business to begin in this current economic climate, but people have been so welcoming and really keen to give something new a try. 

“I'm already looking at having to upgrade equipment because of how much I'm moving on, all over Australia.

“At the moment I’m getting ready for the Melbourne Flower and Garden Show where I really hope that I can educate people on my product and open people’s eyes to something that is different.”

While Ms Symons won’t be able to attend the pitch night due to the Melbourne Flower and Garden Show being on the same day, she strongly encouraged anyone nurturing the spark of a new business idea, or even those who just want to be amongst the first to hear about innovate ideas from South West start-ups, to head along.

“It was amazing to have so many people watching us and listening to us, and reaching out later on,” she said.

“The people that reached out after the event were incredible and people are still reaching out and coming up at markets to me and having a chat about it.

“It’s very much that networking and building up of friendships between businesses.

“Your business might be at the complete opposite end of the scale to another business, but their insights can still really help.

“Through The Ideas Place program I’ve kept in contact with a fair few of the participants and developed really strong friendships with other businesses that were involved.

“Being a part of the program and the pitch night was the best decision I have ever had.

“My product would not be launched without The Ideas Place and the pitch night.”

The Ideas Place Pitch Night will run from 6pm-8pm on Thursday March 21 at the Port Fairy Bowls Club.

Tickets are $10, which includes light catering. Under 16s are free. Tickets are available at

About The Ideas Place

The Ideas Place is a program to help South West entrepreneurs and start-ups bring their innovative ideas to market.

Made possible via LaunchVic funding, other partners include the Warrnambool, Moyne and Corangamite councils, South West TAFE, Great South Coast Food & Fibre, the Fletcher Jones Family Foundations and What Your Customers Want.