Slingshot has launched the Icon business bootcamp and accelerator program for regional small business owners and startups.
Now in its second year, the program has been designed to support small business and entrepreneurs in the Hunter region and beyond. A collaboration between Slingshot; the University of Newcastle; and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Icon will supercharge the next generation of regional startups to drive innovation in the local economy.
Two programs are on offer. A free 3-day business bootcamp for any business owner, founder or sole trader wanting to understand business models, growth, marketing, intellectual property, raising capital and pitching. Anyone can enrol, whether it be a not-for-profit, social enterprise or even just someone with an idea.
The second program is a 10-week accelerator through which startups can apply and pitch their idea to secure a position in the program for investment. This year successful applicants will receive an increase in seed investment of $25,000, tailored training and world class mentoring throughout the program.
Slingshot Co-founder, Trent Bagnall said the Icon program will play an important role in driving innovation and commercial outcomes in the Hunter.
“Startups and small businesses are the lifeblood of regional Australia. Not only will Icon bring experts to the area, it will also facilitate greater collaboration with corporates and investors who can help grow these businesses,” Trent said.
“We have already supported many successful startups in the region through our accelerator programs like Deckee, Camplify, Liftango and Social Pinpoint, who were recently acquired.”
Last year, several founders who went through the business bootcamp also applied for the accelerator program and secured a place which allowed them to further develop their ideas and tackle problems.
Icon accelerator alumni, Josh Leask, the Founder of Finactly, has achieved great momentum since the program, recently securing a contract and going live with a large Australian Bank.
“When we started the Icon Accelerator last year, we just had an idea. Just 7 months later we’re out there solving the problem of unexplained transactions. It has taken a lot of work by the team to get to this point and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved,” Josh said.
University of Newcastle Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Professor Kevin Hall said the University of Newcastle was delighted to be working with Slingshot again through their Integrated Innovation Network.
“We are looking forward to hosting the business bootcamp and accelerator on campus to enable more opportunities for our talented staff and students to create new enterprises. The university has a strong track record of success in innovation and translational research, so the Icon business bootcamp and accelerator program is a good fit for us,” Professor Hall said.
Last year, Slingshot and University of Newcastle were awarded funding under the Australian Government’s $23 million Incubator Support initiative to establish the Integrated Innovation Network (I2N) Regional Accelerator, of which Icon is a part.
I2N is expected to create at least 45 jobs in the short term, with more to come as startups find success domestically and internationally. It will also deliver around $2.0m in investment back into the Hunter economy over two years.
The Icon Accelerator will conclude on 19 December in Newcastle with a Demo Day showcasing the cohort’s businesses, which last year was also supported by Hunter icons like Kurt Fearnley and Carol Duncan who pitched their big ideas.
Enrolments for the business bootcamp are open until 19 August.
Applications for the accelerator are open until 7 September.
IMAGE | Slingshot has launched its second Icon business bootcamp and accelerator program.
Slingshot is Australia’s leading corporate accelerator program, working with clients such as Qantas, Lion Group, SEEK, Hudson, HCF, ING Direct, the NSW Government, the QLD Government and UTS. The startups and scaleups that have gone through Slingshot-run accelerators have a combined market capitalisation of more than $227M and over 82 per cent are still active or have been acquired.
The Slingshot methodology is validated and university accredited, with their STAR4000 course helping to equip the next generation of entrepreneurs. This year Slingshot also launched a new platform, CoVentured, to connect corporate Australia to a growing community of startups and scaleups. Founding corporates on the platform included Westpac, Woolworths, Optus, Australia Post, Energy Australia, Lendlease and Tabcorp.