This month, 18 startups founded by Deakin University students and alumni were invited to partake in our 4-day pre-Accelerator Intensive program led by US based mentor Deakin alumnus and Global Head of Pipeline at Techstars, Saba Karim.

The teams comprised of a colourful gamut of innovators from tech, social enterprise, ethical brands, engineering, the arts, elderly care, and more.

Agile learning, industry-proven content

Over the course of the four days, the teams were taken on a deep dive on all the fundamentals needed to take their business to the next level.

The program provided the teams with tools and materials that have been used, tested, and proven to work by startups internationally. The teams unpacked the anatomy of the pitch, perfected their business models, and learned the important details of product development (from design sprints to conducting customer interviews).

The teams also took away real industry know-how and professional tips on networking, making the most out of LinkedIn, and engaging mentors.

The real takeaway for many was the comprehensive masterclass on effective marketing funnels where they got really clear on their customer acquisition strategies, A/B testing, and ad marketing.

“I’d just like to re-iterate how impressed I was by SPARK’s 4-day intensive. I have been a part several other Accelerator programs, and I learnt more in these 4 days than I have anywhere else. I can’t wait to see what the program does next.

— Amila, Co-Founder of Humanism

Next generation leaders who put each other first

“A tribe harbours an environment for generating new ideas for work and life whilst also fostering a sense of community which is vital for a healthy productive life” (SOULVENTURE).

Much of the success of the four days was owed to the openness and genuine care that the teams fostered. It was incredible to see how everyone genuinely demonstrated eagerness to back each other and help one another succeed, leading with a ‘give-first’ mentality.

“This program is one of my highlights of the year, I see complete introverts come in and feel like they belong and they open up. We saw founders going from unsure and confused to gaining clarity and direction on their next steps. We saw life-long friendships form” (Daizy Maan, SPARK Deakin Program Manager).

Distinguished guests

We were also very lucky to have special guests join the Intensive to share their expert knowledge, wisdom, and advice.

We had Dhanish Dhamani, Founder of Orai (an app that uses an AI Speech Coach to help people be more confident in public speaking), dial in from Philadelphia to lend his pro-tips on nailing a pitch.

Deakin University’s Vice Chancellor, Jane den Hollander, also dropped in and shared her wisdom on true leadership, diversity, serving the community, and innovation.

On the final day, the teams were reminded of the importance of self-care and mindfulness in their startup journey. They were led in a grounding yoga and meditation session by Madeleine Bong, a yoga teacher and artist from San Francisco.

The big launch

Now, the teams are eagerly preparing to present their pitches to an extraordinary panel of judges and mentors.

On 6 June 2019, we will reveal the teams selected to participate in our 2019 Accelerator program.

We’d like to invite you to join us in this special occasion. Connect with founders as well as other likeminded business community folk across Deakin and Melbourne’s startup community.

RSVP essential: Click here to attend the 2019 Accelerator Launch Day

Ready to take your startup to the next level? We accept applications for the Accelerator program on an ongoing basis. Find out more here.