NSW govt backs diverse founders with new pre-accelerator programs

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Around 60 participants from diverse backgrounds will have access to new pre-accelerator programs for founders looking to make a social impact with a startup.

The New South Wales government will support established accelerators to deliver four new programs to be run across Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.

The move was announced on Tuesday by Innovation minister Anoulack Chanthivong, who wants “a more diverse innovation ecosystem” as he prepares to reveal the Minns government’s industrial and innovation policy next month.

The value of the support for the pre-accelerator programs is unclear and the announcement comes as established innovation programs are on hold for potential budget savings.

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The new Social Impact Pre-Accelerator Program will be delivered by Startmate and universities.

The University of Newcastle I2N will take in around a dozen female founders to its new pre-accelerator, while the University of Wollongong’s iAccelerate program will focus on founders trying to make a social impact.

UNSW will deliver a new 10-week program called Impact-X to 10 participants that are looking to address an underrepresented healthcare issue, an unmet medical need, or a healthcare solution for marginalised groups.

The Startmate accelerator will take in more than 20 participants with a social impact focus to its new 10-week pre-accelerator program at Tech Central.

The pre-accelerator programs will help founders develop their ideas and understand markets, with successful participants able to then join the accelerator programs to assist in launching a venture.

“Startups can hold the key to solving some of society’s biggest problems and we want to grow the capabilities of entrepreneurs who want to make a difference for the community,” Mr Chanthivong said.

“We also want to build a more diverse innovation ecosystem, which is why these pre-accelerators include opportunities for female founders to take part, along with people from diverse ethnic backgrounds and people with a disability.”

The announcement of the pre-accelerator programs comes as the Minns Government weights an expenditure review ahead of its first budget in September.

The review has effectively paused several innovation grant programs, including the popular MVP Ventures commercialisation program and the Future Industries Investment Program.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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