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venture catalyst

Applications are currently closed.

Stay tuned for 2021 updates.

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$10,000 AUD for eligible startups

100% equity free

Discover more of our program features

A program to develop and grow your startup


Venture Catalyst is a six-month program to develop founders with innovative ideas.

Participants accepted into the program will receive a tailored program of support designed to help early stage startup founders, plan and successfully execute their journey towards building a globally scalable and investment ready business.

Participants will also receive one-to-one mentoring from the ICC's two Entrepreneurs in Residence; Kirk Drage and his company LeapSheep; and serial entrepreneur and founder of Regency Food Services, Regency Staffing and Zen Energy, Richard Turner.

The program has three categories and is open internationally.


supported the University of South Australia

The General category is open to any industry sector and supports startups with the potential for high growth, who are developing new services, markets or business models that compete in global markets. Accepted applicants will receive a tailored program based on their current needs as well as the $10,000 stipend and other benefits mentioned above.

Applications are closed


supported the South Australian Space Industry Centre

The Space category, supported by the State Government's Space Innovation Fund, is the state's first program designed specifically for startups who are developing new services or products for the space industry. The program gives founders the support and tools they need to plan and successfully build a scalable and investment ready business.

Applications are closed

Social Enterprise

supported by the Pank Family

The Social Enterprise category is supported by Pank Family who support social innovation and enterprises developed by UniSA students or alumni. Through the Venture Catalyst program, the Pank Family have ensured that new ideas that come out of the University have the support and mentoring needed to set up a new and innovative social enterprise in South Australia.

Applications are closed


Which category is right for your startup or idea?

The Innovation & Collaboration Centre's Venture Catalyst program has three categories for potential applicants. Our 30-second application assistance tool can help you find which category is right for you.

Venture Catalyst Space startup FireFlight uses satellite data to map fires.


Q1. Does your startup use space technology or data?

These can be ideas about space exploration but also using space data to solve real world problems. For example, using beacons to help the wine industry improve the quality of their fruit by monitoring weather conditions.


Q2. Are you or one of your team members a student or alumni of UniSA?

If someone in the team is currently studying or has studied at UniSA, you are eligible to enter a special category.

Startup Weekend 2018 winners, Taboo are working to ensure women around the world have access to safe hygiene products.


Q3. Does your idea or startup benefit a community cause?

Social enterprises are businesses that have a social purpose. They may be not-for-profit or for-profit, but their main goal is to service community needs with profit secondary.


Your startup or idea is best suited for:

Supported by the South Australian Space Industry Centre

This one-of-a-kind program delivers tailored support and guidance working with a global pool of expert advisors including former NASA astronaut Pam Melroy.


Your startup or idea is best suited for:

General category, supported by the University of South Australia

This category is an open industry category for ideas with a focus on technology.


Your startup or idea is best suited for:

Social Enterprise category, supported by the Pank Family

This category focuses on socially enterprising ideas and startups by students or alumni of UniSA.

Program features

What is a startup?

The ICC describe a startup as a company working to solve a problem or disrupt the market in some way.

Disruption describes innovations that displace – or dramatically interrupt – how we think, behave, live and do business.

The idea must be scalable and able to grow.

Generally speaking, Venture Catalyst will not accept 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 are now closed for the 2020 program. 

Applications open 2021 applications will open in late summer 
Applications close TBC

For more information and queries, email iccadmin@unisa.edu.au.

Venture Catalyst supported companies

Download our Venture Catalyst guide

Our Venture Catalyst brochure is a great introduction to the the program, including case studies and testimonials from our startups.

Download brochure

What our startups are saying about the program

Frequently asked questions

Applications are currently closed. Stay tuned for 2021 dates.

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. This may be in person or online.

For the categories that remain open, applicants will be contacted after their application has been assessed and kept up to date on the steps of their application.

The founder of the business must be based in South Australia and committed to establishing the business here. If you are based interstate or overseas, there is the stipend of $10,000 and may also be relocation grants available depending on your category. For regional startups, the program can be completed at either the regional ICC in Whyalla or online.

The program is offered at the ICC Adelaide and the regional ICC at Whyalla as well as online.

This program is based on individual support and mentoring to help you get your idea off the ground. This is not a grant program however eligible startups do receive a stipend of $10,000. This is currently only open to the Space category.

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

If you are applying for the Space category, the ICC is a part of the Supporting Innovation in South Australia (SISA) program that will issue temporary visas to those that meet all the Department of Home Affairs' criteria and requirements. Please visit the SISA Webpage for more information and to apply. For the other categories, you should consult the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs for information about possible visa options.


South Australian Government

University of South Australia