Last week as part of the ANU Connect Ventures Innovation Showcase Chief Minster Katy Gallagher MLA launched the GRIFFIN Accelerator, a Canberra-based start-up accelerator program with a focus on ‘servicing government’.
The GRIFFIN Accelerator gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to take part in a 3+3 program where they have the chance to validate their idea, develop networks and fine-tune their business model. This program model is unique where selected applicants are invited to take part in a 3 month program with $25,000 for customer validation activities, in return for 10% equity. At the end of this 3 month block, a select number of Griffin start- ups will be invited to continue for another 3 month intensive program with an additional $25,000 instalment for a further 5% equity.
Named in recognition of the contribution of the city’s founding father, Walter Burley Griffin, the GRIFFIN accelerator aims to form and support new innovative companies. Its goal is to provide a structured high growth path so start-ups exiting the program have an investible proposition or revenue generation.
The accelerator draws experience from a pool of mentors, each with entrepreneurial experience, skills and experience in the government sector, or a significant technology industry network.
Nick McNaughton, spokesperson for the GRIFFIN Accelerator said “This accelerator program is another building block in the early-stage innovation eco-system in our city. Last year we launched Entry 29 the co-working space which has attracted over 125 paying members since its launch in May 2013. The success of Entry 29 demonstrated the demand for an accelerator program and we are pleased to now be open for business”.
The GRIFFIN Accelerator is the product of collaboration between several of Canberra’s innovation-led institutions including the Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre, NICTA, the Australian National University, the University of Canberra and Ignition Labs, part of ATP Innovations.
Hamish Hawthorn, CEO of ATP Innovations said “We have extensive experience in running accelerator programs in technology, health and energy sectors. Leveraging our capability and expertise to launch other regional programs is of significant interest to us. Partnering with the impressive innovation community of the ACT to launch this in Canberra demonstrates the collaborative spirit that will make this program a success”.
The program’s focus is unique to Australia and leverages the city’s strengths. “We are so much more than a politics, public service and tax town. We have a huge customer on our door step (the Federal Government) and we have significant research and domain expertise in the themes selected for this year’s program” said Mr McNaughton.
Stage one of the GRIFFIN Accelerator program will run from 1 July – 30 September 2014 and will be based at the NICTA Research Labs in the heart of the city.
Phil Robertson, Chief Operating Office of NICTA said “We are excited to be providing the space for this first group of start-ups. NICTA is all about bringing research and industry together and growing businesses, like we have done with our Canberra-led eGovernment Cluster”.
“These lucky start-ups will be surrounded by the large intellectual pool of NICTA researchers and PhD students to help them solve curly issues on the spot”.
Participants who are selected for stage two will continue in an additional period from October to December.
The GRIFFIN Accelerator program is currently seeking applicants with solutions in the Government Software, Government Services, Defence, Education and Health space. Applications close 23 May 2014.
To find out more visit the GRIFFIN Accelerator website .