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KPMG launches 2016 Energise accelerator to spur innovation in the energy and natural resources sector

KPMG Australia has launched this year’s edition of Energise, its accelerator program focused on startups working in the energy and natural resources (ENR) sector. The three month program, running across Brisbane and Perth, will look to help foster direct collaboration and co-creation between startups and corporates in the industry.

Though Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull launched the ideas boom last December saying that the Australian economy must move on from its reliance on the mining and resources sector, KPMG Western Australia chairman Gary Smith believes ENR will continue to play a key role in not only driving the economy forward, but in driving innovation.

“Startups bring new ideas and technology, and deliver much-needed solutions to underpin the ENR sector’s competitiveness in an increasingly global marketplace. KPMG’s aim is to fuse these two capabilities,” Smith said.

The first run of Energise last year saw eight startups receive a combined $650,000 in capital and industry contracts. To grow this further, this year’s program will look to directly connect startups that have already raised seed funding or have commercially proven solutions with corporates in the sector to spur co-creation and collaboration; with this in mind, Energise will not take equity in the startups.

Corporates taking part in this year’s program include Woodside Energy, Wesfarmers Chemicals Energy & Fertilisers, and South32. The organisations have developed new corporate curriculums from learnings gained through the 2015 Energise accelerator, specially designed to help them maximise their time and the benefits of working with startups.

“By bringing a new and enhanced version of the Energise accelerator to market, we hope to play a role in enhancing creative innovation within one of Australia’s most important industries, and help build a generation of global leading technology companies in Perth and Brisbane,” Smith said.

Perth software company Sentient Computing was named the winner of the first Energise program last year, taking out the $100,000 prize with its MVX product, which uses data to create interactive 3D environments.

Other participants in last year’s program include Skrydata, which uses advanced analytics to highlight insights from big data; Ecocentric Energy, whose system helps conserve energy in commercial buildings and industrial facilities; and Global Unmanned Systems, which uses drones to provide customised environmental and social baseline data acquisition and monitoring solutions for the natural resources sector.

KPMG isn’t the only organisation to keep the faith in the role innovative solutions in the ENR sector can play in the Australian economy going forward, with Western Australia’s Unearthed running an accelerator and hackathons around the world to uncover new ideas for the resources sector.

The organisation has worked with over 1,000 participants across its global events, creating more than 150 prototypes and collaborating with industry leaders including Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.

You can learn more about Energise here.

Image: the 2015 Energise cohort. Source: Supplied.