Accelerator programmes for professionals and graduates in Australia

A growing number of universities are offering accelerator programmes, which are useful in helping startups thrive.

By U2B Staff 

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Accelerator programmes have seen a meteoric rise in popularity in recent years. The burgeoning startup scene across the world is fuelling the need for more targeted help to enhance their chances of success.

Heralding a brighter future for the Australian startup scene is accelerator programmes offered in universities to support this journey. These structured programmes are typically conducted over a period spanning from a few weeks to several months and see individual companies working with mentors and receiving resources that would help build their business.

Accelerator programmes typically aim to enhance startups’ potential for success. 

And this success is pivotal as they can play an important role in a country’s economic development. For instance, the StartupAUS Crossroads 2020 report notes that startups – and the technology companies they become – account for a large and growing proportion of the world’s productive output.


Citing past studies, the study said the startup boom has played an important role in rapid job creation, especially for technology companies. On average, firms five years old or younger account for only 17% of total employment, but are responsible for 47% of job creation, a finding echoed across many other countries.

Universities are playing a key role in nurturing such companies through education. Many accelerator programmes require participants (or one participant from the group) to be a student, alumni or staff of the university. 

Below are some universities in Australia that are offering accelerator programmes for professionals and graduates. Prospective participants will want to contact these universities directly to see if the programmes have shifted online or have been postponed due to COVID-19. 

University of Melbourne

Accelerator programme
The Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) helps grow and scale startups. Source: Shutterstock

The University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) was launched in 2012. It accepts 10 startups for a five-month programme (June – October) each year to help grow and scale their business. 

Selected startups will have the coveted opportunity to receive mentoring from some of Australia’s most brilliant business minds, have access to a global network of advisers, channels to partners and investors, and AUD$20,000 in seed funding, with no equity taken.

According to its website, MAP has supported over 100 startups, who have raised over AUD$70 million in funding, generated over $98 million in revenue, and created over 1,000 new jobs. Interested participants will need to take note that at least one founder needs to be a student, staff or alumni of any year from the university.

Curtin University

Curtin Accelerate is open to a Curtin student, staff or graduate who needs assistance getting their innovative business idea off the ground. The programme is free and spans over a 10-week period where participants will be provided with support and guidance to commercialise their idea.


Participants of the Curtin Accelerate programme will need to align their business concepts with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Among the programme offerings for qualified candidates include AUD$5,000 equity-free grant, business start-up workshops designed and delivered by an experienced programme manager, access to key industry contacts and networks,  10 weeks personalised mentoring from specialists in digital marketing, business growth, intellectual property and finance to help build and improve participants’ idea for commercial success.

La Trobe University

Accelerator programme
The La Trobe Accelerator Program was launched in 2017. Source: Shutterstock

La Trobe Accelerator Program is conducted in partnership with LaunchVic, which was established by the Victorian government in 2016 to develop and grow the local startup ecosystem.

The programme aims to build Victoria’s regional entrepreneurial ecosystem through an inclusive programme that encourages participation by founders of social impact ventures, as well conventional for-profit organisations.

It connects entrepreneurs with expert support, mentors, specialist resources and industry networks, in addition to offering up to AUD$10,000 equity-free seed funding to help develop participants’ ideas into a viable business.

Bond University

The Bond Business Accelerator (BBA) is a 12-week bootcamp where participants’ business idea is researched, developed and commercialised into a ready-to-launch enterprise, notes its website.

The programme is open to all students, alumni, working professionals and small business operators. It combines the essential ingredients of formal training, practical skills, high level mentoring and investor introductions that will transform students’ idea into a fully-fledged commercial entity.

Participants will receive support from experienced mentors who have established their own successful start-ups, and who will be able to impart knowledge on how they overcame the obstacles of creating a business from scratch.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Accelerator programmes
QUT’s Fashion360 programmes transforms emerging fashion businesses by engaging them in structured programmes. Source: Shutterstock

QUT offers accelerator programmes for those in the fashion business via its Fashion360 Accelerator and Fashion360 Grow programmes, dependent on the stage of the business.

Boh programmes are delivered by the university’s entrepreneurship, innovation and venture company Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA).

CEA’s Fashion360 Accelerator is the only fashion start-up program of its kind in Australia, and offers weekly workshops that provide leading business advice on marketing, finances, digital strategies, range planning and development, costing, pricing, production, sales analysis, among others. It is ideal for early stage brands with strong viable concepts and those who are still in the emerging stage looking to achieve greater clarity in their business model and advance to the next level.

Meanwhile, Fashion360 Grow is a scale-up programme designed to support brands who have either completed the Fashion360 Accelerator Program or fashion businesses looking to advance to the next stage.