Grants for Pre-Accelerator Programs

Grants for Pre-Accelerator Programs

Supporting Early Stage Startup Creation

LaunchVic originally released the Grant Guidelines on the 11 March 2020. The Grant Guidelines were re-issued on the 14 April 2020.

Press Release

Timings for this Grant program include:

Stage 1

Round relaunched: 14 April 2020
Online Information Session 1: 11:30am – 12:30pm 21 April 2020 (Online via Zoom) complete
Online Information Session 2: 10:30am - 11:30am 24 April 2020 (Online via Zoom) complete View here

Round Closed: 10am 8 May 2020
Communications: to unsuccessful and applicants moving to Stage 2 by 27 May 2020

Stage 2

Due Diligence: Financial Reports and requested information due by 3 June 2020
Virtual Pitch Day: Thursday 4 June 2020 (this date is subject to change) 
Communications: to unsuccessful and applicants moving to Stage 3 by 25 June 2020

Stage 3

Contracting: Contract execution with recipients expected by 17 July 2020
Announcement: Press Release on 30 August 2020 and Press Release on 8 January 2021

This grant program was originally opened on the 11 March 2020 with the aim of increasing the pipeline of early-stage startups in Victoria. Since then the world has been in the grip of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has seen major impacts to our lives and the economy. This has required LaunchVic to make some changes to this grant round and alter its focus from increasing startup density to one where economic recovery is at the forefront and aspiring entrepreneurs with technology-based ideas are being given every chance for success.

Evidence from previous economic downturns illustrate that entrepreneurship can play a vital role in helping to drive recovery. Now more than ever it will be important that entrepreneurs looking to start their own startup have access to the best possible support, advice and networks to help them on their journey as they build new companies that will help to sustain our future economy. 

LaunchVic is seeking to invest up to $250k per application for Pre-Accelerator programs to run for a minimum of 2 years. Applications must have a delivery team that has strong startup education skills and must have previous experience delivering pre-accelerator or accelerator programs. Applications from existing and new Pre-Accelerator programs will be accepted. Funds can be used for Operating Costs. 

Changes have been made to the Grant Guidelines and grant application form. Please see the Change Register (pages 8-9) of the re-issued Grant Guidelines for the listed changes. If you have submitted or started a grant application, please review the re-issued Grant Guidelines to check your eligibility and the revised Key Assessment Criteria. You will need to amend your Grant Application form in SmartyGrants accordingly.

View the Grant Guidelines (re-issued 14 April 2020)

Successful Recipients




Project Description


Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN)



The Business of Sport


The Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN) in partnership the Global Sports Innovation Center (GSIC) powered by Microsoft with deliver a sportstech Pre-Accelerator Program delivered over 10 weeks. It will support 60 Victorian Startup Entrepreneurs to validate their off-field sportstech business idea against competitors, vendors and VC. Specific industry experts including: GSIC, Pitcher Partners (Finance), Madgwicks (Lawyers), M&J Creative (Marketing), Sports Tech World Series (Market Research and Validation) and VARCIS Group Ltd  (Investment and Asia Market Entry Partner) will support program delivery. 

This program will better prepare early-stage startups for SportsTech Accelerator programs. The program will be offered 4 times over 2 years and aim to strengthen the reach, international standing and reputation of the Australian sportstech startup ecosystem in Victoria.

Atto Accelerator



Atto Pre-Accelerator Program



Atto is an online-driven, Pre-Accelerator Program that helps female Startup Entrepreneurs launch tech companies in an independent, scalable and sustainable manner. Atto is designed to take a first-time Startup Entrepreneurs from idea to product to revenue in a methodological and focused way. The 12-week program will support 30 female Startup Entrepreneurs through 2 cohorts. 

The program will support Participants to go on to take part in an accelerator program and/or raise angel funding. The program will run through startup operations 101, profitable business models and unit economics, community building, mapping out MVPs, creating an MVP using no-code tools, customer acquisition, growth marketing, startup launch press, building teams, applying to top accelerators, and an intro to raising angel funding. The program will be taught by a network of global founders and operators.

The University of Melbourne



Expanding the Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) Velocity Program


The Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) Velocity Program helps Startup Entrepreneurs speed up their search for problem-solution fit and discovery of first customers. This grant will allow MAP to increase its frequency of cohorts each year to support technology-based Startup Entrepreneurs. The funding will also allow the adaption of the program to be delivered online so Startup Entrepreneurs from across Victoria can get connected to MAP and participate in the Velocity Program.  

This program will support 120 Startup Entrepreneurs through at least 4 cohorts over 2 years. There is no University of Melbourne affiliation required. Startup Entrepreneurs will receive skills to help them with: i) early validation of their market or first customer; ii) objective competitiveness to enter an accelerator program; iii) full-time commitment to their startup; and/or iv) a fine-tuned Startup.


Start, Now


This project will be a network of Pre-Accelerators delivered in partnership with local councils, with a focus on supporting Startup Entrepreneurs west of Melbourne. The councils supporting the project include Melton City Council, Brimbank City Council, Maribyrnong City Council, Wyndham City Council, Hume City Council, Hobsons Bay City Council, and Campaspe Shire.

Roshambo will deliver a Pre-Accelerator program to 16 cohorts in partnership with local councils. The Program will accelerate Participants through the process of finding a business idea and then developing and scaling that idea into sustainable model. They will be introduced to the Startup mindset and methodologies, taught how to build and test an MVP solution, and then shown how to grow their MVP solution. The Project aims to support 320 Participants through the program in partnership with the councils. It will support a further 80 Participants from the broader Victorian community via a tailored low-cost online Pre-Accelerator program.

SBE Australia 

SBE Explore



SBE Australia is a not-for-profit organisation who accelerates women entrepreneurs.  SBE will develop and deliver a Pre-Accelerator Program to accelerate Victorian female founders with strong ideas to bring those ideas to market in a smart and sustainable way. SBE will deliver the Explore program over 8-weeks and offer the program four times. The Program will graduate 40 female Startup Entrepreneurs in total over 2 years. 

Graduates will be ready to build an MVP of their idea with a tested go to market plan and a network of entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem leaders. They will also be supported via a strong network of almost 200 alumnae post-program.

Latrobe City Council

Startup Gippsland


Startup Gippsland is a Gippsland-wide Pre-Accelerator program supported by Bass Coast Shire, Baw Baw Shire, East Gippsland Shire, Latrobe City Council, South Gippsland Shire and Wellington Shire Councils.

The program focuses specifically on ideation-stage and innovative tech businesses with non-technical founders. It will support 40 Startup Entrepreneurs over 2 cohorts in 2021 and 2022. Startup Entrepreneurs will participate in weekend intensive training and receive wraparound support in the form of masterclasses and mentoring aimed at building their capability, networks and confidence to run a tech-based business as a non-technical founder.

The program will support Founder capability-building that will include sessions on how to work with developers, product roadmaps, tech and consumer law and digital marketing strategy. The program will culminate in a pitch showcase where founders will launch their MVPs.

Wangaratta Rural City CouncilStartup Shakeup$246,000 Startup Shakeup is a regional initiative that aims to expand the opportunities for startups to be created, and shakeups to survive and thrive, anywhere in Victoria with the right support and ecosystem.

Supporting 40 Startup Entrepreneurs over 2021 and 2022, Startup Shakeup will also offer four Tech Taster workshops for 120 participants, and will collaborate with Runway Geelong to develop the local capability to support the program. GHD will also deliver four masterclasses through this program to help upskill and support the startup entrepreneurs particularly in the emerging tech market.
Runway GeelongRunway Pre-Accelerator Program $250,000Runway Geelong delivers entrepreneurial programs to assist people in developing and validating their business ideas – incubating and accelerating their startups, or scaling up their existing business.

 The program provides early-stage startups with a launch-pad to take their idea, build a business model and build and validate their minimum viable product. This pre-accelerator program focuses on supporting startups from Geelong and Western Victoria region. Runway will deliver the program at least 3 times over 2021 to 2022 and accept at least 30 technology-focused Startups in total