Prince Andrew's leg up for entrepreneurs

Prince Andrew attends an event for his Pitch@Palace program in Melbourne. (AAP)

Prince Andrew has launched the Australian semi-final of his global competition for budding entrepreneurs.

Prince Andrew has launched his signature program in Melbourne to help budding entrepreneurs get a foot in the door.

The Duke of York, joined by Victoria's Governor Linda Dessau, welcomed some of the state's business elite as he officially launched Pitch@Palace Down Under in the opulent grand ballroom on Wednesday afternoon.

Founded in 2014, the program has given 400 tech entrepreneurs a kick-start by exposing them to some of the world's most powerful CEOs, mentors and business partners.

Standing in front of a painting of his great-great grandfather, Prince Albert, in the gilded ballroom, Prince Andrew, 57, said his Pitch@Palace will help "hatch world-changing ideas".

"Behind me is a painting of Prince Albert. At the time he was alive, he was classified as entrepreneur in residence at Buckingham Palace," His Royal Highness said.

"I have the dubious honour of following Prince Albert as being the entrepreneur in residence.

"This is about encouraging, helping and supporting entrepreneurs on their journey. It's about changing the world and doing the impossible."

The 20 finalists then pitched their ideas in front of the panel of judges before voting began to select a winner.

First prize is a trip to St James Palace in London to join other finalists from around the world.

The Duke, the third child of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, spent his first day in Melbourne on Tuesday laying a wreath and touring the Shrine of Remembrance and visiting sick kids at the Royal Children's Hospital.

He is scheduled to meet RMIT University students and emerging entrepreneurs from the start-up community on Thursday before heading to Brisbane.

Source AAP

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