Scale your startup and become investment ready

Accelerate your startup's growth with $20k equity-free funding*, rent-free co-working spaces* and establish valuable connections with world-leading academics, entrepreneurs, industry-experts, investors and mentors to navigate your next steps to success. 
We are seeking founders with the ambition, determination and resilience to transform their startup into an impactful global business. The Elevate Program (formerly known as Accelerator Program) is designed for mid-stage startups with an established product or service ready for market and founders eager to scale rapidly.

What you can receive

All successful participants will receive*:

  • access to Swinburne's pioneering Elevate Program featuring seminars, masterclasses, personal mentoring, coaching and accountability sessions
  • A$20,000 in equity-free funding distributed on three instalments over the 12 weeks
  • three months of rent-free coworking space at Swinburne's Hawthorn campus
  • valuable connections to world-leading entrepreneurs, academics, mentors, industry experts and investors
  • credits for professional services relevant to your startup
  • free 12-month membership to The Startup Network Community
  • a unique opportunity to pitch directly to mentors, investors and potential partners at the Pitch Night
  • priority access to Swinburne Ventures Limited's investment committee  

*Conditions apply.

Who is eligible?

We are seeking startups with market-ready products or services, led by founders eager to scale rapidly and preparing for a pre-seed or seed-fundraising round. Eligible startups must qualify for funding from Swinburne Venture Limited, which includes:

  • startups founded by Swinburne students, staff or alumni (not all founders need to be associated with Swinburne, but the founder with an association must hold at least 10 percent equity)
  • spinout companies leveraging Swinburne-generated intellectual property
  • startups with strong research and development connections within Swinburne's research community

For further details, please watch the Elevate Program 2024 Info Night video.

Watch now

How to apply

  1. Apply online before 11.59pm AEST on 21 July 2024.
  2. Respond to all questions and do not leave them blank. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  3. Upload a video summarising your startup accompanied by a presentation deck (PDF) as per instructions.
  4. Ensure all details are correct.  We will email your application outcome on 12 August 2024.
Apply now
Have questions about the Elevate Program?
Schedule a session with us

You can also schedule a 15-minute session with our team to discuss your application and goals for the program. Simply email us at to lock in a time.

Program highlights

Discover all the details about our program from 2023.

Swinburne Accelerator Program – Demo Night

Swinburne Accelerator Program – Demo Night

Are you a startup with a product that’s ready to be put in front of customers? Take your idea from go to whoah with Swinburne Innovation Studio’s Accelerator Program.

Hear what the movers and shakers have to say about our intensive, 12-week program. (Hint: it’s infinitely better than the office!) Gain access to mentors and facilitators to guide the next steps of your startup journey.

Our success stories

Learn about a few of the many successful graduates from the Elevate Program. 

Founded by recent Swinburne alum Oliver Farnill and co-founder Finnlay Morcombe, Fluency participated in the 2023 Elevate (Accelerator) program. 

Throughout the 12-week journey with the Innovation Studio, the team diligently developed their startup, focusing on customer insights, business validation, and constructing a minimum viable product through various workshops.

Since its inception in early 2023, Fluency has generated significant market interest, with several companies currently trialling the software and moving towards full implementation.

Founded by Alex Sinickas, Milkdrop participated in the 2020 Elevate (Accelerator) program. Through the Innovation Studio, Alex was connected with Swinburne researchers to develop a prototype.

Over the 12-week program, Milkdrop honed their packaging, branding, and go-to-market strategy. Shortly after, Milkdrop successfully launched its first product in Australia.

“The Swinburne Accelerator Program connected us with excellent mentors and transformed our venture into a fully-fledged company,” says Alex Sinickas, co-founder of Milkdrop.

Founded by Swinburne alum Manon Beauchamp-Tardieu, Little Green Panda participated in the 2020 Elevate (Accelerator) program. Since then, the company has sold over 3.1 million compostable sugar cane straws distributed across 10 countries. Little Green Panda has also successfully expanded its business model, launching a new line of home-compostable coffee cup products. 

“The Swinburne Accelerator Program has changed the way we look at our business. We now have strong structures in place and a clear vision that will ensure continuous success as we grow. We have gained valuable knowledge and a great network of industry experts,” says Manon Beauchamp-Tardieu, founder of Little Green Panda.

Our recent startups

Our 2020 startups

Little Green Panda is a sustainable packaging startup making compostable drinking straws from agriculture waste products. To date, they’ve replaced 3.1 million straws in over 10 countries from polluting our landfills and oceans.


Manon Beauchamp-Tardieu
Darine Djendoubi 
Teresa Aylott 
Loris Campanile

Find out more about Little Green Panda

Automation Acoustics is introducing a remote monitoring tool that provides data visualisation (industry 4.0) to industries using automated welding. In doing so, it aims to solve the lack of real-time visibility in production process required to make decisions. 


Anthony Lele 
Armando Manzano

Find out more about Automation Acoustics

milkdrop is designing a new wave of breast pumps and accessories. They draw on the latest technology in design, materials and manufacturing to help mums express milk faster, more comfortably and with less fuss. 


Alexandra Sinickas 
Andrew Mason 
Ravi Bessabava 
Daniel Prohasky 

Find out more about milkdrop

Through smartphone interfaces, Fishable is creating simple, accurate and fun ways to measure your catch that helps build knowledge of sustainable fishing practices.


Adjunct Professor Jacyl Shaw – Co-Founder
Dr Adrian Collins – Co-Founder and Director

Find out more about Fishable

mDetect detectors use particles from space to give X-ray style scans of substances. They can create a 3D image of the density of a region allowing identification, monitoring and evaluation. mDetect can reveal hidden structures that no other technique can – using detectors that are small, robust and cost-effective thanks to their patented microelectronics.


Professor Alan Duffy – CEO
Dr Jerome Donovan – COO 
Dr Eryadi Masli – CFO
Shanti Krishnan – CTO
Craig Webster – Chief Engineer  

Find out more about mDetect

Our 2019 startups

Scriibi is an online tool that teachers use to develop their students' written communication skills. Scriibi's data-informed teaching and learning tools integrate into existing frameworks and help teachers develop practices and differentiate learning to ensure students reach their full potential.


Samantha and David Nicolaides

Find out more about Scriibi

Strong Room is a health-tech startup founded to further integrate the healthcare IT ecosystem. Early case studies have shown that the Strong Room pharmacotherapy management software can save pharmacists up to 30 percent in time.


Max Mito, Christopher Durre and Kieran Start

Find out more about Strong Room

Making the unseen visible, SNA Toolbox helps organisations to realise their social capital through its unique technology platform optimising the hidden social structure of organisations.


Dean Lusher and Peng Wang

Find out more about SNA Toolbox

ASPIRE connects resource generators with reuse and recycling users, using technology developed by CSIRO and Data61 to reduce the rate of landfill across Australia. ASPIRE is currently helping 300 businesses covering 15 councils across Victoria with their resource management.


Cameron McKenzie

Find out more about ASPIRE

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Frequently asked questions

Activity Date
Info Night 5.30pm, Wednesday 26 June 2024
Applications open Wednesday 26 June 2024
Applications close 11.59pm, Sunday 21 July 2024
Interviews Monday 5 August – Friday 9 August 2024
Application outcome Monday 12 August 2024
Program period Tuesday 27 August – Tuesday 12 November 2024
Pitch Night Tuesday 19 November 2024

For futher details, such as the program overview, eligibility and requirements, please watch the Elevate Program 2024 Info Night video.

Yes, to be eligible to participate in the Elevate Program, you must either be a staff member, student or alumni of Swinburne.

Not all founders need to have a Swinburne affiliation, but the founder with affiliation must hold at least a 10 percent equity in the business.

Founders are the people who established the company. They share both the risk and reward of creating something from an idea.

Yes, we would love for you to apply for the program. 

The expectation is that one founder (or equivalent hours across founders) will be working full-time in the start-up.

No, you retain full ownership of the company including any intellectual property.

Yes, you are still welcome to apply for our program.

No, there is no cost to apply for the Accelerator Program. However, all participants are required to have a current Working with Children Check (WWCC) to participate in the program as it's partly delivered on Swinburne’s Hawthorn campus. Learn more about Working with Children.

Explore more of our programs

Want to know more?

If you have any questions, need more information or you're wondering how Swinburne Innovation Studio can help turn your big idea into a real thing, contact us via email at

Contact us now