On-campus entrepreneur program INCUBATE to double in size

17 October 2016

The University of Sydney will provide significant financial support for on-campus startup accelerator INCUBATE, to help double its size over the next five years.

The University has committed over $1 million to the award-winning program, co-founded by two entrepreneurial former students in 2012 and developed by the University of Sydney Union (USU). The funding injection is a major boost for the initiative.

Open to University of Sydney students, researchers and alumni, INCUBATE currently accepts two intakes of up to eight startups each year. This new funding will enable INCUBATE to increase its support to over 30 startups per year by 2018.

The extra funding will also be used to initiate new outreach and support activities, including programs for community mentoring, legal advice and product development assistance for teams to refine their innovative idea so they’re ready to apply for the INCUBATE accelerator program.

University of Sydney Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AM said: “Since its formation I have been impressed by INCUBATE and its achievements, in particular its commitment to ensuring strong partnerships with industry and genuine diversity amongst its entrepreneurial intake."

The University of Sydney is proud to be associated with this program that has demonstrated positive impact and supports the broader University community to develop and realise bold and innovative ideas.
Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AM

Professor Tyrone Carlin, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Registrar), said: “The University considers INCUBATE a first-rate program for its track record in bringing together teams of people from different disciplines to work collaboratively on challenging projects. We congratulate the USU for developing such a terrific initiative.

“Our strategy commits us to ensuring students have the opportunity to undertake hands-on project work, and entrepreneurship is a vital component of this endeavour. INCUBATE neatly aligns with this strategy and provides an invaluable opportunity for our students to develop their skills and engage with the business and investing community.”

A photo of James Alexander

James Alexander, INCUBATE Program Manager and co-founder

James Alexander, INCUBATE Program Manager and co-founder, said: “The USU is grateful for the University’s support and belief in our vision for fostering more entrepreneurs. It sends a great signal to students, researchers and the broader entrepreneur community. We have big plans for the extra funding, and expect to significantly increase our scale and reach across campus over the coming years.”

As well as direct financial support, the University will also provide new co-working space for the expanded program in the Wentworth Building on City Road.

“This will enable all INCUBATE staff and startup teams to be located in the same area, aiding collaboration and development,” Alexander said. 

A graphic showing INCUBATE startups have raised over $7m, with 60 startups supported and over 100 volunteer mentors involved.

The announcement comes as the current Class 8 Startups prepare to present their projects at the annual Demo Day on Tuesday 18 October.

Following a 14-week incubation program – which provides budding entrepreneurs with  $5,000 seed funding, working space on campus, mentoring, advice and guidance from some of Australia’s most experienced mentors, and access to professional networks of the University and supporting organisations – Class 8 students will pitch their startup ideas to an audience of investors, entrepreneurs, students and graduates.

Co-founder and Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) student Rose Hartley will present ProjectHUNI, a program that aims to make the transition from high school to university easier for all students. Hartley said of her time with INCUBATE: “It’s been an intense and rewarding few months and ProjectHUNI is a much stronger proposition because of it. The ready access to experienced mentors and advice has been incredible – and we’ve loved having the time and space to really focus on our offer and define the problem we need to solve.”

INCUBATE's Class 8 startups

Find out about the Class 8 startups and the problems they're addressing here.

Demo Day: Class 8

INUBATE’s eighth Demo Day, open to industry and students, will showcase seven early-stage startups founded by the top student and researcher entrepreneurs from the University of Sydney.
5.45-8.45pm, Tuesday 18 October
MacLaurin Hall, The Main Quadrangle, University of Sydney

Register online.


INCUBATE is now receiving applications for its Class 9 accelerator program. Apply here by 3 November.

Innovation Week Student Challenge

INCUBATE will also oversee the Student Challenge at the University’s inaugural Innovation Week, running from 24 to 28 October. Students with an idea, solution or innovation to help make the future of healthcare more accessible and efficient  will present at a pitch event on 26 October in front of a panel of entrepreneurs, industry, government and academic representatives. They’ll be in the running for a $10,000 grant to help kickstart their vision of a healthy future, as well as an opportunity for exclusive industry internships.

Rachel Fergus

Media and PR Adviser

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