A free accelerator program backed by the City of Sydney is offering 20 startups the chance to develop their business acumen with entrepreneurial experts for the first time since the pandemic.
The City of Sydney has begun accepting applications for the 12-week Business Innovation Accelerator Program, “Ready, Set, Grow”, to be delivered by digital innovation consultancy Disruptors Co out of Tech Central innovation precinct.
The free program has been designed for retail, hospitality, tourism and social enterprise businesses in the City of Sydney catchment area that are in the scale-up stage. It was limited to only retail businesses in previous years.
More than 70 local businesses have already been through the program, according to the City of Sydney.
Disruptors Co Co-CEO Gavin Heaton said the program will equip up to 20 small businesses with the skills and opportunities they need to grow post-COVID.
Topics include how to implement latest innovation methods, build a web and social media presence, leverage partnerships and plan for long-term success.
“This free, 12-week program will coach businesses through the tools, resources and technologies that are usually reserved for fast moving tech startups”.
“We’ve designed a highly practical program that will take the theory and put it to work in the real world,” he said.
“We will create innovative solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing these sectors, such as adapting to changing consumer preferences, improving sustainability and enhancing the customer experience.”
Disruptors Co has “worked with and mentored hundreds of startups over the last eight years”, according to Mr Heaton. It has also facilitated programs for CSIRO and Optus.
The program will include a two-day in-person bootcamp, fortnightly in-person workshops, one-on-one coaching with expert mentors and virtual catchups. Businesses will also make an end of program pitch.
“We are combining in-person and virtual sessions to make it as easy as possible for participants,” Mr Heaton said.
The program will start Monday 1 May. Interested startups are being encouraged to attend an information session next week.
Accelerators that are not aligned to a university are set to face greater competition from later this year, with the government last week introducing legislation to extend the HECS loan scheme.
As many as 2000 final-year undergraduate students, post-graduate students and recent graduates each year are expected to be able to access the loans from 2024.
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