$1.25 million accelerator partners with startup science experts to boost innovation in Geelong

A $1.25 million startup accelerator in Geelong is teaming up with one of Australia’s first incubators to ramp up startup activity in the regional Victorian city.

Runway, which is working to establish as many as 70 new companies and create hundreds of new jobs, wants Geelong to be recognised on the international startup stage, and the accelerator’s partnership with Pollenizer is part of that journey.

The two organisations will develop a specialised startup program for Geelong founders that will be tailored for each accepted team. Applications for the program will open in March and the course will kick off in June.

Each startup will get an equity-free grant of $15,000 and gain access to venture capital funds and angel investment groups like Geelong Angels for further funding opportunities.

Runway Geelong chief executive Peter Dostis tells StartupSmart they’ll only be accepting five startups with two founders each in the first cohort.

“We want to tailor and deliver the program to suit each startup,” he says.

“By doing that with a small number we’ll be able to engage from that first round and then scale up the program.

“At the moment, it’s a 12-week program but we may extend that … we also then support them beyond the program until they get to a point where they’re ready to launch.”

Ideally, this will happen within six months, says Dostis.

Pollenizer, founded by startup heavyweights Mick Liubinskas and Phil Morle in 2008, uses Startup Science to help companies discover innovative solutions and break new ground through high-growth venture programs like Free Money.

Read more: This program will pay you $6000 a month to build a startup – What’s the catch?

“Because we will be sharing the deep knowledge Pollenizer has developed over nine years through successfully incubating thousands of startups, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It puts our first round of startups on the launch pad for success,” says Dostis.

Pollenizer partner Tristonne Forbes says regional centres like Geelong will play an important role in the “startup revolution” that is happening worldwide.

“We believe that regional economies like Geelong will be part of inventing the future,” Forbes says.

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