Advance to offer five-day US stint in 2013 start-up program

Advance, the government-funded network for Australian expatriates, is encouraging start-ups to apply for its 2013 program, which includes a visit to Silicon Valley and the Innovation Summit.


Funded by the Federal Government, Advance is a global community of Australians living abroad. It boasts a membership base of more than 20,000 people in 90 countries.


The aim of Advance, which is based in New York, is to build Australian companies globally, grow global career opportunities for Australians and act as a “brain resource” for Australia.


The Advance Innovation Program has been established to assist innovative, globally ambitious start-ups tap into the experience and knowledge of Australians abroad.


It is the only program open to Australian start-ups that includes a trip to Silicon Valley and Los Angeles to attend a forum with top-tier venture capitalists including leading incubators, accelerators and investors.


Applications for the 2013 program will open on November 5 and candidates across a range of industry sectors are encouraged to apply.


Entrants must demonstrate a working prototype and have clarity around their business model in terms of revenue, customers and distribution.


In addition to being focused and passionate, they must demonstrate a clear competitive advantage.


After applications close on December 7, 25 start-ups will be selected to join a lineup of entrepreneurs and innovators for five days at the Innovation Summit in the United States.


The start-ups will spend two days in LA and three in Silicon Valley. Each start-up will also receive one-on-one mentoring with a successful Australian based in Silicon Valley.


Before the summit, three workshops will be held in Australia to streamline pitches, and gain feedback from experienced Australian entrepreneurs and investors.


After the summit, a selection of investor-ready entrepreneurs will return to showcase their companies to potential investors.


According to Advance chief executive Serafina Maiorano, the program is unlike any other.


“Advance brings with it the brain power of a huge network of global Australians who are able to share their expertise and connections to benefit Australian entrepreneurs,” she says.


“Companies will leave the innovation program inspired to build successful global start-ups, and with the know-how and connections to do so.”


One of the co-founders of ratio buying shopping site Wynbox, which was selected to participate in 2012, was full of praise for the program.


“The experience and knowledge gained has enabled us to present the company in a more comprehensive manner,” Damien Cantelo said in a statement.


“[This resulted] in us successfully closing a sizeable round of funding from Australian investors on our return.”


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