Victoria leads with Australian first accelerator program, Factory 658

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$20,000 seed funding opportunity for emerging creative entrepreneurs to be part of Australia's first accelerator program lead by ACMI and the State Library of Victoria.
Victoria leads with Australian first accelerator program, Factory 658

ACMI Xcel: Creative Tech Accelerator; supplied

Victorian creatives and businesses will come together with the announcement of Foundry658, a new initiative under the Victorian Government’s Creative State strategy.

Foundry658 has been described as an Australian first accelerator program that will help emerging creative entrepreneurs, organisations and collectives turn their creative ideas into successful businesses. 

Led by State Library Victoria (SLV) and Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), the program will take the techniques of the technology sector - where incubators, labs and accelerator programs help to foster new business ideas - and apply them to the creative industries, including arts and culture, film and television, media, publishing, fashion, digital games and design.


It is all about getting creative business ideas off the ground. 

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said:When we were developing the Creative State strategy, access to tailored business development advice and support was identified as a top priority for Victorian creatives. Ambitious artists and creatives are highly skilled in creative domains but need help to establish and grow successful businesses.

‘Whether you have an idea that needs shaping, a prototype in the test phase or a business that is ready to reach a new level, the Foundry658 is for you,’ the Minister continued.

The Foundry658 program includes a range of business support initiatives, with:

  • Roadshow talks and information sessions across Victoria, starting in June 2018
  • Bootcamp sessions designed to test and support the development of a proposed business project
  • A 12-week Accelerator skills-building intensive offering tailored advice, networking opportunities and seed funding of $20,000 for ten selected projects

For more on how you might be eligible and how to apply, visit the SLV website.

Partnerships make for creative sustainability

The SLV and ACMI have come together to realise Foundry658 and its potential for the creative and culture sector.

The Library’s $88.1 million transformation includes the opening of StartSpace, a new hub to support budding entrepreneurs and small business owners from all sectors, and Foundry658 will strengthen SLV's commitment to cultural business development.

Kate Torney, CEO at SLV, said that library has always been about inspiring possibilities. ‘Foundry658 takes this to a new level and reflects the changing needs of our community,’ she said.

It was something that Katrina Sedgwick, Director and CEO at ACMI has also been consistently working on with its ACMI X co-working space, and has developed a reputation for connecting businesses of all sizes with creative tech industry leaders and cutting-edge startup methodologies.

Sedgwick said that they were thrilled to be joining forces with the SLV.  ‘Located in our dynamic ACMI X co-working space, Foundry658 continues the groundbreaking work ACMI has been doing in the startup sector and will challenge creative entrepreneurs of all kinds to realise their potential,’ she said.

ACMI X hosts ACMI Xcel: Creative Tech Accelerator, the first accelerator of its kind designed by an Australian museum.

$20,000 to seed and mentor creative entrepreneurs

Under the Foundary658 program, accelerator teams will each receive $20,000 in seed funding and mentoring support from leading creative entrepreneurs.

The program will comprise an annual regional roadshow, boot camps to support up to 50 creative entrepreneurs and artists to develop their business idea, plus an intensive three-month accelerator program that will support 10 high potential creative start-ups to turn their ideas into sustainable businesses. The program will commence in July 2018.

Participants will be guided on how to develop a successful business plan and strategy, refine their pitch, approach potential investors, and test or demonstrate their idea or product with future customers.

Eligible creative ideas don’t need a technology component, just an idea that has the power to supercharge individual creative practice, build a sustainable income stream or transform the creative sector more broadly.

For more on how you might be eligible and how to apply, visit the SLV website.

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