News & Analysis

Queensland social enterprise accelerator Impact Academy calling for applications to fifth program intake

- July 25, 2016 2 MIN READ

“Ambitious change makers” and social enterprise startups are being called on to apply for the upcoming Impact Academy accelerator intake, a 20 week program looking to help startups in the socent space achieve sustainable and scalable impact. The first half of the program focuses on acceleration, with the second looking at market delivery.

The program features weekly group workshops facilitated by industry leaders, individual one on one partner meetings, mentor sessions, the allocation of interns to work with teams, and opportunities for networking with corporates and impact investors.

Established in 2014, the Queensland accelerator looks to equip social entrepreneurs with professional support to help them develop and commercialise their businesses. Forty startups have been through the program, covering issues including education, health, environment, disability, and issues facing Australia’s youth.

These graduates include Virtual Songlines, a startup looking to help tell the Indigenous stories of our landscapes; Promise or Pay, which helps users stick to their goals by having them donate to charity if they don’t follow through and encouraging friend to donate if they do succeed; and Tour de Office, an initiative looking to raise awareness about the health risks office workers face by sitting for prolonged periods of time by encouraging workplaces to run bike riding events.

These are among a growing number of social enterprise startups emerging, with Impact Academy just one of several accelerators or incubators looking to support them.

Melbourne-based social enterprise incubator One10, founded late last year, has already expanded into Sydney and targeted further expansion across Australia. With its program working on a rolling basis, One10 has worked with startups including Health Delivered, Ethical Switch, and Promise or Pay.

Peter Ball, founder and managing director of Impact Academy, said, “The swell of interest across the country is evident and the momentum that continues to build will ensure the social enterprise industry will continue to move more into mainstream markets.”

This thought has been echoed by One10 founder Geoff Gourley, who said that while social enterprise has been emerging in the Australian landscape for over a decade, the past two years have seen a particularly profound growth in the sector.

“In a time of worsening social inequality, exclusion, and under-representation of cultural minorities, this is unsurprising,” he said.

“An increasing number of people are turning to business solutions that tackle society’s biggest challenges, and with this shift comes a great need for specialised support systems and infrastructure for the purpose-driven enterprise, not-for-profit and social impact sectors.”

Impact Academy is also a host venue for the Queensland government’s HotDesQ program, a key initiative of its Advance Queensland innovation agenda looking to get interstate and international startups to relocate to Queensland.

Applications for the next Impact Academy intake close on Friday 29 July. You can learn more here.

Image: Peter Ball.