The University of Newcastle, Australia

UON Slingshot accelerator program

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Budding entrepreneurs are set to benefit from a dynamic partnership, announced between the University of Newcastle (UON) and Slingshot, which will identify high potential start-ups and nurture innovation in the Hunter.

Slingshot AcceleratorThe UON Slingshot Accelerator program is calling for University students, staff and friends of the University to share their ideas for the chance to gain support and resources to help turn them into reality. Successful applicants will receive seed capital, marketing resources and participate in a 12 week structured program supported by mentors.

Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Nick Talley, said UON was committed to meaningful engagement with its communities to drive real innovation.

"The University of Newcastle is ranked in the top three per cent of universities in the world for its research excellence and is internationally recognised as a driver of innovative research that addresses real world issues," he said. 

"We are proud to be partnering with Slingshot to deliver this new Accelerator program to support and grow the talent within our region and stimulate innovation.

"The University's staff, alumni and community partners have a vast amount of expertise to share with the entrepreneurs of tomorrow - we look forward to seeing their ideas turn into reality through this program."

Slingshot is a high-tech accelerator initiative that provides seed funding, a dynamic co-working space, and a mentoring program that nurtures skills and relationships to enable entrepreneurs to build a remarkable company.

Slingshot co-founder and UON graduate Trent Bagnall said the partnership with the University of Newcastle would help promote entrepreneurialism to students, giving them a pathway to develop and grow their ideas into real businesses.

"It is our plan to have each end-of-year holiday period dedicated to a University intake and help showcase our regional business talent to the world," Mr Bagnall said.

Slingshot recently completed its first intake and invested in eight high-tech start-ups selected from 150 applications to the program. All companies established during the intake are still operating and growing.

Newsmaven, a content aggregation website company established through the Slingshot Accelerator program, is currently testing its product on the Fairfax network. Members of the company recently returned from Silicon Valley where they secured an investor meeting with CEO of Global internet giant Yahoo, Marissa Meyer.

"The Slingshot Accelerator program allowed us to grow up quickly and become a company that launched itself on the global stage within six months. The mentors and support provided by the program helped focus us on how to build the right business model to become successful," Newsmaven CEO Shaon Diwaker said.

The UON Slingshot Accelerator program

The UON Slingshot Accelerator program will support a maximum of 10 start-ups. Applications are now open to undergraduate and postgraduate students, staff, researchers, alumni and friends of the University. Applications close Friday 29 November and can be made at

About Slingshot:

Slingshot is a high-tech accelerator initiative that provides seed funding, a dynamic co-working space, and a mentoring program that nurtures skills and relationships to enable entrepreneurs to build a remarkable company.

Slingshot recently graduated eight companies from its first intake. Slingshot aims to accelerate 100 companies over the next five years and help facilitate a growing start-up ecosystem in the Hunter and Australia.

Slingshot is proudly supported by its partners, Sparke Helmore, PwC, The Newcastle Herald, the University of Newcastle, Hunter TAFE and Newcastle Innovation (the commercial arm of the University of Newcastle).

 About the University of Newcastle:

The University of Newcastle encourages translation of research outcomes and discoveries into innovative products, solutions and policy through collaborative engagement in research projects with industry, business and government partners in its local, national and global communities.

Engagement with partners and productive collaborations are essential to ensure that its world-class research translates into outcomes that will change the life of individuals, the productivity of industry and the economic health and sustainability of nations.

The 2012 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment placed the University of Newcastle equal 7th in Australia for research 'well above world standard'. It also rated 90 per cent of research at Newcastle at world standard and above.

The University of Newcastle has 10 disciplines which feature in the top 200 in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings. Four of the University's engineering disciplines – Chemical, Civil and Structural, Mechanical, and Electrical Engineering – feature in the top 200 in the world, including Civil and Structural Engineering in the top 100.

Demonstrating our commitment to relevant teaching is our approach to problem-based learning, first pioneered by us some 25 years ago, which underpins our degree programs in medicine, engineering, architecture, nursing, social work and law.

  • Carmen Swadling, Media and Public Relations
  • Phone: +61 2 4985 4276 or 0428 038 477

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