The University of Newcastle, Australia

Icon accelerator launches for Hunter region startups

Thursday, 10 August 2017

A new accelerator program is set to supercharge the next generation of regional Startups.

UON's Three76 Innovation Hub

A collaboration between the University of Newcastle (UON) and Slingshot, Startups in the Hunter region are now invited to apply for The Icon Accelerator Program, which aims to drive innovation in the local economy.

Successful applicants will receive $25,000 seed investment, tailored training and world class mentoring over a 10-week period. They will also have the opportunity to fly to Austin for a one-on-one session with the creator of the lean canvas business model and author of Running Lean and Scaling Lean, Ash Maurya, who is also a program mentor.

Slingshot cofounder Trent Bagnall said the Icon Accelerator will play an important role in driving commercial outcomes for the region.

“Startups and small businesses are the lifeblood of the Hunter Region and we look forward to equipping them with the investment and training they need to succeed. Not only will Icon bring some of the best business minds to the area, it will also facilitate greater collaboration with corporates who can support these businesses through growth.”

UON Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Professor Kevin Hall said the University of Newcastle is proud to be working with Slingshot to develop Australia’s first regionally distributed accelerator across their Integrated Innovation Network.

“The best innovation ecosystems are those where new industries are created through collaboration between research, education, business, community and government, and where opportunity comes via a variety of pathways”, he said.

“Icon fills a gap in the current Hunter ecosystem by delivering a cohesive, industry-agnostic accelerator with investment embedded within it to allow companies to scale and go global. It’s tailored to the specific needs of our Region, but also the opportunities of our region, with the Hunter’s unique set of land uses, educational institutions, breadth of industries and longstanding capacity for generating knowledge and technology with world-wide reach.”

Slingshot has already supported many successful Startups in the region through its accelerator programs, including Camplify, Deckee and Liftango.

Diverse applicants are encouraged to apply for Icon and to partake in the pre-accelerator program. The pre-accelerator program is a free initiative for early stage or local businesses which will see up to 120 participants learn business modelling, marketing, capital raising and presenting.

Slingshot and UON were awarded $475,000 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 University of Newcastle was an early sponsor and supporter of the first Slingshot cohort and one of the inaugural corporate partners in Slingshot’s recently announced SaaS CoVentured platform. The organisations have also collaborated on the university’s STAR4000 program which provides students with entrepreneurial skills and pathways for innovation and future self- employment.

Applications for Icon are open until the 10th of September.

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