It’s one thing to have an amazing idea – but what if you struggle to communicate your business to others? That was once the situation for the young engineers behind STRUT, who’ve developed an integrated precision agriculture system to help farmers.

 Ryan Veale, Co-Founder of STRUT
Ryan Veale, Co-Founder of STRUT

“As engineers, we were caught up in the technology we were developing,” says co-founder Ryan Veale, who took part in the 2019 Accelerator. “Through SPARK Deakin’s workshops we were able to learn key skills that allowed us to get our ideas across to others, a skill that has helped us immensely since the accelerator.”

Ryan says the Accelerator helped STRUT transform from a passion project into a viable business. And for those still considering applying for the 2020 program? “I would say go for it! There is nothing to lose, it is a great experience that provided us with so many crucial opportunities that have allowed STRUT to grow quite rapidly.”


When KeyNinja joined Deakin’s SPARK Accelerator of 2018, co-founder James Vuong said expectations weren’t particularly high. “We were really just excited to have others listen to our story and our start-up,” says James Vuong, co-founder of the 24/7 key delivery and verification service for guests of holiday rental hosts.

 James Vuong, CEO & Co-Founder of KeyNinja
James Vuong, CEO & Co-Founder of KeyNinja

But the Accelerator was to prove instrumental in encouraging the young entrepreneurs to keep lifting the bar – and even inspired a complete name change (from the original name of KeySquirrel) and rebrand, with the help of other participants.

James says anyone thinking of applying for the 2020 program should jump right in. “Definitely apply and if you get the opportunity, then spend as much time as possible getting to know each other and share with the key leaders of the program. In the early stages of any startup, warm introductions can mean the world and lead to new opportunities that change everything!”

The Other Straw

The Other Straw has sold over 65,000 reusable bamboo straws since 2018, to some of the world’s largest hotels and venues. But when the social enterprise joined SPARK Deakin’s 2019 Accelerator, it had only a relatively small customer base in Australia, and was mostly selling direct to consumers.

 Jamie Lee Kay, Co-Founder of The Other Straw
Jamie Lee Kay, Co-Founder of The Other Straw

That all changed during the Deakin program, says co-founder Jamie-Lee Kay. “Thanks to the support of the SPARK team, our mentors and the workshops, we were able to scale our business model and operations. After completing the accelerator, we entered the US and EU markets and saw our revenue doubling month over month.”

The enterprise is now one of the biggest players in its industry, and Jamie says the SPARK Deakin Accelerator has been a huge part of The Other Straw’s success. “If you have an idea (or startup) you’re passionate about, then SPARK Deakin is for you. You’ll be part of a like-minded community that will challenge and inspire you to achieve the unimaginable.”

Are you ready to take it to the next level?

Do you think your startup is ready to join the accelerator? If you answered YES, then we want you in the 2020 accelerator. Applications are open until 5pm AEDT on Friday 20 March 2020.

Learn more and apply here.