MedTech Actuator Program and Community Coordinator Makenzie Thomas brings her passion for entrepreneurship, startup ecosystems and supporting founders to delivering MedTech Actuator Origin, and the MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship and Fellowship programs.
Makenzie’s international experience spans Europe, Australia, and Canada – working in project management, marketing, business innovation, academic research, and creative and cultural entrepreneurship.
Makenzie draws on this international experience to deliver MedTech Actuator Origin – an idea pitch competition – and the MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship and Fellowship programs – supporting researchers alongside the Menzies Foundation to transform their impact.
“My role covers everything from rolling out application campaigns to participant experience, to program delivery. I also look after our community and its activities,” says Makenzie.
“From one day to the next I could be writing communications, drafting social media visuals, developing program strategy, jumping into workshops, providing pitch feedback to founders, working with our network of inspiring speakers – it is quite a mixed bag!”
Cheering on founders
Working with founders is a real highlight for Makenzie in her role.
“They’ve got such a unique energy that becomes the foundation upon which they build their startups.
One thing I love about my role is that we’re right there with them, celebrating the small wins, cheering them on as they pitch (over and over) and guiding them in the right direction.
It takes so much to go from idea to successful startup and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight.
The ecosystem, accelerator programs, like MedTech Actuator, and their own personal networks are essential to success.
Being a part of this world and being able to have an impact across a number of founder journeys is my why. It’s the reason I’m here at MedTech Actuator.”
On the horizon
Makenzie says that there’s a lot happening in the MedTech, BioTech and HealthTech space, especially in Australia and across the Asia-Pacific region.
“I’m entering this corner of the entrepreneurship world with fresh eyes and I know that the ecosystem is growing and seeing some big wins. I’m really excited to learn from MedTech Actuator, the innovation ecosystem and the amazing founders coming through our programs.
The ecosystem is channeling a lot of this energy into supporting and nurturing female founders as well. The State of Australian Startup Funding 2021 report published by Cut Through Ventures and Folklore noted that from 2020 to 2021, funding events involving at least one female founder rose by 1%, leaving a whopping 81% of deals for all-male founding teams.It’s disappointing, to say the least, but it is a huge challenge facing the whole industry and it stems from a number of systemic issues. Considering that MedTech Actuator supports and works closely with so many inspiring female founders, we’ll be doing more to amplify these stories, share the wins, demand space for women at the table, and open our calendars to early-stage female founders, researchers, and clinicians so that these numbers can continue to shift in the right direction.”
Meet our team
Get to know how others in the MedTech Actuator team are supporting Asia Pacific’s next wave of health innovators: