Turn your idea into a business!

An incubator program designed to develop and grow founders with innovative or disruptive ideas.

Following the success of the University of South Australia’s Venture Catalyst startup program which began in 2014, the new Venture Catalyst incubation program combines key learnings with technical and business advisers and one on one mentoring to deliver a program that supports early stage startup founders to plan and successfully execute their journey towards building a globally scalable and investment ready business.

venture catalyst

This six month incubator program is delivered by the Innovation & Collaboration with ICC Entrepreneur in Residence Kirk Drage and his company LeapSheep. After 12 years at Microsoft in roles such as Head of Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Relations for Asia Pacific (based in Singapore), Drage spent time in Silicon Valley developing Artificial Intelligence products and services before returning home to Adelaide in 2015 passionate about supporting committed entrepreneurs.

Please note, this program is available at the ICC in Adelaide and available at the ICC Whyalla (ICC Whyalla applications do not have to be connected to UniSA).

About the program

What is a startup?

There are many definitions of what a startup is. The ICC describe a startup as a company working to solve a problem or disrupt the market in some way, generally under condition of uncertainty. Disruption describes innovations that displace – or dramatically interrupt – how we think, behave, live and do business.

Generally speaking, Venture Catalyst will not fund applications for the following reasons:

  • The venture is a ‘small business’ (e.g. cafes, restaurants, and fee-for-service consultancies)
  • The idea is too similar to other products/services in the market and the point of differentiation is not adequately demonstrated
  • The venture requires a different level or type of support beyond the scope of Venture Catalyst (e.g. venture capital or R&D funds)
  • The application proposed is for a technology to be licensed not for the creation of a startup
  • The business is not economically viable to be undertaken in South Australia.

Key dates

Applications will be accepted on a monthly basis. 

Applications should be submitted by the 15th day of each month.

It is anticipated that applications will take 6-10 weeks to review.

Venture Catalyst supported companies

What our startups are saying about the program

Frequently asked questions

Applications will be accepted on a rolling monthly basis. Submit yours by the 15th of any month.

If shortlisted, you are likely to be asked to attend a short (45 min) informal interview to expand on your idea and allow the Innovation & Collaboration Centre (ICC) to meet the key members of your team.

It is anticipated that applications will take 6-10 weeks to review and following this, you will be contacted.

The founder of the business must be based in South Australia and committed to establishing the business here.

The program is offered at the ICC Adelaide and the ICC Whyalla. Whyalla applications do not have to be connected to UniSA to qualify.

This program is based on individual support and mentoring to help you get your idea off the ground. This is not a grant program.

This program is 100% equity free. You retain any and all of your equity as a participant of this program.

Unfortunately, we cannot offer any support with visas. You should consult the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs for information about possible visa options.

Apply now

Download our Venture Catalyst Application Form (docx) and our Application Pack (pdf).