Monday, March 1

First Guide To Australia’s Incubators & Accelerators For Social Impact

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Over the past few years, purely commercial businesses have had a smorgasbord of accelerator and incubator programs to choose with many appearing in large metropolitan areas rich with startups. Until only recently, startups focused on social impactsocial enterprises – haven’t been so lucky. However, the number of incubator and accelerator programs available to Australia’s social entrepreneurs is increasing.

This shift is a result not only of the expanding sphere of social entrepreneurship and an increasing interest in for-purpose business models, but also as a result of more traditional, established programs coming around to the idea that social outcomes and profitability are not mutually exclusive.

While this is exciting, awareness of the programs available for early-stage impact businesses appears to be lacking. “We are frequently getting inquiries from social entrepreneurs about accelerator programs that focused on, or are open to, social impact startups” says Social Change Central Co-founder Jay Boolkin. “In the first edition of the ‘Australian Incubators & Accelerators for Social Impact we profile over 40 key programs that are currently activate in Australia. We hope that, used together with the Social Change Central opportunities portal, it will be a useful practical resource that will assist social entrepreneurs to navigate the current ecosystem to find the critical support they need.”

The guide some has been downloaded over 500 times and a high-level analysis of the programmes profiled reveal some clear patterns and geographic trends.

  • The guide identifies 41 incubators and accelerators currently active in Australia, which accept financially sustainable enterprises operating with a social and/or environmental mission, considerably more than previously estimated.

  • It is estimated that these programs have supported over 3,500 new enterprises, and therefore represent an important component of the startup ecosystem.

  • Of those programs profiled:

    • the average program length is 15 weeks.

    • almost half (20) require some form of participation fee – either equity of cash.

    • almost half (18) offer funding to participating enterprises.

    • New South Wales (17) and Victoria (13) have the greatest concentration when compared to Queensland (7), Western Australia (6) and Australian Capital Territory (3). South Australia and Northern Territory each has 1 program, while Tasmania has none.

“At Social Change Central, we know from talking to Australian social entrepreneurs daily that identifying, researching and comparing programs is difficult and time consuming, placing a drain on what are often very limited resources” adds co-founder Anne Lennon. “A core objective of the guide is to bring the key information together into one comprehensive and accessible resource so that social entrepreneurs can easily hone in on the programs that best suit their organisation’s needs and then make a faster and more informed decision.”

The ‘Australian Incubators & Accelerators for Social Impact’ is available here:


About Author

Paul Towers is a passionate supporter of the Australian startup ecosystem and the Founder of Startup Soda. Originally, Startup Soda was solely a newsletter that helped curate the best content from the Australian startup community, more recently however it has turned into a media platform with the aim of improving coverage of Australian Startups, Founders and VC's.

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