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How winning a pitching competition in Karratha led Tender Relief to the Plus Eight accelerator program

Nov 22, 2021

Starting as a tender support consultancy in January 2019, Tender Relief provides management services, training and support for regional businesses in Australia. “I always knew I was going to start the business,” Founding Director Eliza shared. “But it almost happened by accident at the time! I just kept getting asked to help businesses with their tenders and then before I knew it, I had staff, the company went from a Sole Trader ABN to an incorporated company in less than 12 months, and I started to explore the idea of productising the business model by providing high quality and affordable tender services, online.”


When asked what supported Tender Relief on it’s massive growth trajectory, Eliza shared that in 2020 she participated in Meshpoints’ LaunchPad Program in Karratha. This program was designed to find and teach regional businesses how to professionally pitch their business. “The program was brilliant,” She shared. “It ended with a pitch night from all the participants across the Pilbara, where Tender Relief won”.


“As a result of winning the pitching competition, I went on to compete in the Golden Ticket Pitch event at Freo Startup Fest in 2020, which is part of West Tech Fest.” Here, Eliza came equal first and this win secured her a spot in our Plus Eight Bootcamp where she was able to compete for a place in the 2021 Plus Eight Accelerator Program.


“And we made it! The bootcamp was intense but it was a fantastic day (I think I slept for about 12 hours afterwards though) and the Plus Eight program has been life changing ever since, both  for me professionally and for Tender Relief.”


Living and working in Karratha, in the Pilbara region of WA, has made for a big weekly commute for Eliza. “I have flown from Karratha to Perth and back again every week since the start of June 2021 (and will continue to do so until Dec 2021) for the Plus Eight Program.” 


“I’ve lived there for 10 years and the great thing about being based in the regions and having a really established network up there is I get to talk to my clients really easily and test my product on them, which they’re happy to help us with. Beyond the Pilbara however, the great thing about an online model is that regional and state boundaries don’t really matter, so we’re able to position Tender Relief as the experts in Tendering across Australia without our base in Karratha restricting us.”


“The best thing about being based in Karratha however is that it helps us relate deeply to regional SME’s. This often-forgotten section of the SME market is massive, but too many times consultants and those offering professional services (like Tender Relief) focus their marketing and messaging towards larger metro based clients, and they completely ignore the huge potential that exists to build a client list of regionally based customers. Because of this there is less competition in the regions and a much lower barrier of entry for Tender Relief to build a client base quickly and in a way that makes our clients feel understood…because they are.”


When asked what makes Tender Relief different from its competitors, Eliza shared that while the consultancy side of the business is not particularly unique, Tender Relief is one of a number of excellent Australian tender support agencies helping businesses put together compelling and persuasive bid responses, her ambition to modernise the way support is provided by developing innovative technology for tendering is one-of-a-kind.


“Our 78% win rate (which we’re very proud of) means that we get a huge amount of return business and that helps to fund our tech development. As far as we can tell, there isn’t another company in Australia or New Zealand who are trying to innovate and modernise how businesses receive tender support in the way that we are.”


“And why would they?” She continued. “Consultants can make huge amounts of money offering their in-person services and there is plenty of work, the motivation to reduce cost for the clients and to modernise the traditional consultant model isn’t particularly strong for many. By taking the consultant model and transferring it online by building tools, templates, databases of tender responses, our users can receive the same quality support at a much lower cost. We do this because we believe that all businesses should have access to support if they want it, but too many can’t receive it because it is financially restrictive.”


In joining the Spacecubed community, and growing alongside other founders as part of the Plus Eight accelerator program, Eliza shared that her experience here has been immeasurable.”I say that fully understanding the weight of that word. The Spacecubed and Plus Eight community has not only provided access to mentors, education, information, and tools that we otherwise would have had no way of easily accessing, it has also provided a critical community for me in my journey as a sole founder.” 


“One of the most challenging things of being a sole founder is finding a network that can support you. And not only that, but a network that can understand and deeply connect with the very unique journey you experience in the startup world.”


“The Plus Eight Program has been essential in framing the direction of Tender Relief, challenging my assumptions and personal fears and providing an absolute mega-star line up of industry experts from legal to marketing and tech to funding. Not only that but making it through both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the program has meant that we received $70,000 in funding to support our online development, and at our early stage this was a ‘pop the champagne’ type of achievement.”


When asked to share advice for new, and budding entrepreneurs, Eliza shared that finding a community to support your startup journey is the most valuable thing you can do. ”You will get back 50X in value compared with what you have to commit and a program like Plus Eight, or any of the Spacecubed programs, are great ways to make sure that when you run out of steam or have a crisis of confidence (both of which will likely happen multiple times!) you have a network that you can lean on. Get that in place now and save yourself the trouble later. Good luck with your journey, onwards!”


To follow more of Eliza’s journey, make sure you follow Tender Relief on social media. Or, if you’re ready to begin your startup journey, speak to the Spacecubed team today about our available programs, mentoring support, networking opportunities and more. Book a tour to get started!