CivVic Labs | Startup Challenge Program | LaunchVic

CivVic Labs


Connecting Government to Victoria’s $103 billion startup ecosystem

Developed and run by LaunchVic, CivVic Labs is a challenge-based pre-accelerator program that connects aspiring and early-stage startup founders to government to solve public sector challenges.

Over six weeks, founders learn new startup skills, grow their connections and develop their business idea with government, supported by $15,000 equity-free funding. At the end of the experience, they’ll pitch for a further $35,000 to bring their startup ideas to life.

Our latest challenge with the Department of Transport is now underway.

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How does it work?

When new challenges go live LaunchVic seeks to admit 10 startups or startup entrepreneurs to the program. There is no fee for participation. Rather, participant teams will receive $15,000 on completion of the program.

The program is structured to cover topics such as lean startup, codesign, and hypothesis testing, delivered by startup experts. The program is designed to assist innovators in their solution design in the following ways:

  • Access to world-class mentors and a cohort of top innovators to build a solution alongside
  • Access to community and stakeholder experts, with local know-how of the challenges faced by businesses or organisations that operate community facilities, parks and/or recreational facilities; and
  • The potential of promotional support from highlighting innovative startup solutions.

At the conclusion of the program, a judging panel will select up to two startups to receive $35,000 in equity-free seed funding to further develop their solution.

What startups are you looking for?

CivVic Labs supports idea to early-stage startups.

  • Idea Stage = working on an idea that has not yet been fully developed or launched in market; or
  • Early Stage = testing a prototype in-market, without a significant customer base or revenue.


CivVic Labs has been a game-changer for Volta. The support, mentorship, and connections we gained have propelled our growth and opened doors to new opportunities. Thank you, LaunchVic, for believing in us and being a catalyst for our success!

VoltaRocks, DEECA Energy Challenge

After a number of years struggling to find the right customer and business model for my product, the CivVic program has absolutely leapt my business forwards. I now have a clearer problem / solution fit and have changed my business model completely. The program was so generous and welcoming, and I now feel part of a community and have confidence to move forward.

Child Nation, VicHealth Community Access Challenge

The program really encouraged me to experiment and validate my idea early, before building. This is fantastic support and guidance for every early stage founder.

InsightMap, VicHealth Community Access Challenge


What sort of subject matter experts will I spend time with during the program? 

Subject matter experts will cover a range of topics across both startup-building knowledge (such as pitching, customer insights, and business structures) and industry/policy knowledge (for example, council representatives). 

How many startups will be accepted into the program? 

Up to 10 Startups will be accepted into the program, each receiving $15,000 in seed funding per startup to develop their idea after the program is completed. 2 Startups will receive a further $35,000 in seed funding to build out their solution. 

Aside from the 6 weeks of the program, how much extra time is required? 

Startups participating in CivVic Labs will need to allocate time outside of the 6 weeks for orientation prior to the program starting, and in between sessions to iterate based on feedback they receive during sessions. You may also have the opportunity to participate in office hours outside the program days. The minimum suggested additional time to allocate is three hours per week.

How many people can be part of a team? 

We recommend that teams limit the number of attendees to 3, to maximise the learning opportunity for all participants. 

Am I the right stage to apply and participate in CivVic?

 CivVic Labs helps founders launch their idea, or go full time on their idea by providing seed-funding whilst building alongside subject matter experts, to fast track your problem solution fit. At the conclusion of the program 2 teams are awarded further seed funding. The ideal founder profile is someone who has an idea, all the way through to someone with a very early product in market. If that is you, and you have a strong interest in the challenge statement, then you are absolutely the right stage to apply and you will benefit from CivVic Labs. 

Why should I apply to CivVic Labs? 

CivVic Labs is designed to help passionate founders apply innovative thinking to some of the state’s most pressing challenges. There are 3 reasons you should launch your startup within the CivVic program: 

Fast-track problem solution fit: CivVic brings together a network of both subject matter experts related to the challenge and startup experts; 

Seed-funding: The program is completely free, and you will receive seed-funding to participate in the program. Multiple teams will receive further seed funding at the end of the program. 

A proven model: Alumni startups like InternMatch and HAL Systems were developed within CivVic Labs, going on to to become thriving startups. 

Where will the in-person sessions be held at?

 Each Challenge is held at a different venue, but generally they are in the Melbourne CBD or inner suburbs. 

What is the process to apply to CivVic Labs? 

The exact application process may vary depending on the challenge requirements. Generally though the process has four stages that run over a two month period: 

Expression of interest: Submit your details to register your interest in the program by 10am Monday March 4. 

Application stage: Complete an application form and short video 

Interview stage: Submission is reviewed and an online interview is conducted to select the successful applicants 

Contracting stage: Successful applicants are required to enter a contract with LaunchVic 

What do I need to do to receive the seed funding? 

You will need to attend all sessions including the final showcase event. You will also need to send an invoice at the conclusion of the program. 

How much funding will I receive? 

Each startup selected for CivVic Labs will receive a $15,000 grant. 2 Startups will receive a further $35,000 in seed funding to build out their solution. 

Do you take equity in my company? 

No, the funding provided in CivVic Labs is equity-free. The money will be processed as a grant, with required milestones needing to be met to receive the funding.