Mentoring to accelerate early-stage startups and impactful research.

INCUBATE’s Pre-Accelerator Program is a free part-time mentoring program created to support individuals and teams from within the University of Sydney community and beyond who are committed to building a startup or delivering impactful research.

Delivered by INCUBATE, the award-winning Pre-Accelerator Program is backed by 1:1 mentorship with industry-leading professionals and facilitated by our Program Managers with a wealth of experience in startups and research commercialisation.

Our Pre-Accelerator Program has a range of specialised program streams:

ProtoX: Students – exclusively supporting early-stage founders who are current students at The University of Sydney.

ProtoX: Arts – in collaboration with Australia Council for the Arts to provide members of the Australian arts community with the knowledge, skills, and network to test and scale their startup ideas into businesses.

ProtoX: Ideation to Creation – supporting early-stage startup founders from the University of Sydney community (student, alumni or staff) within any sector develop their business ideas into businesses.

ProtoX: Research to Impact – supporting the translation and commercialisation of research from The University of Sydney.

ProtoX: First Nations – supporting Indigenous & First Nations entrepreneurs within The University of Sydney community with a focus on cultural awareness to amplify the impact of Indigenous-owned businesses.

  • Express Your Interest Here

    Not sure which Program is for you? Watch our short ProtoX information session to learn more.
  • ProtoX: Ideation to Creation

  • 2024 Key Dates
  • Trimester 1: Ideation to Creation
  • Applications Open: 2nd January 2024
  • Applications Close: 2nd February 2024
  • Cohorts Announced: 13th February 2024
  • Program Dates: 13th February – 7th May
  • Trimester 2: Ideation to Creation
  • Applications Open: 6th May 2024
  • Applications Close: 19th May 2024
  • Cohorts Announced: 24th May 2024
  • Program Dates: 4th June – 20th August
  • Program Overview:
    • 12-week program comprising of 2-hour weekly workshops – in-person or online pending program stream
    • 1:1 weekly mentorship meetings with an Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR)
    • Key theoretical learnings
    • Hands-on customer testing and experimentation
    • Opportunity to pitch your business idea to the community and industry
    • Access to INCUBATE’s community of dedicated mentors, investors and industry professionals
    • Equity-free grant pending successful completion of Program
    Time Commitment:
    • 2-hour weekly workshop in-person or online – attendance required
    • 1-hour weekly meeting with EiR to discuss goals, updates and action items
    • Workshops, networking or community events hosted on alternate weeks – non-compulsory but attendance encouraged
    • At least 5 hours per week should be spent focused on completing theoretical workshop tasks & customer testing outside of abovementioned events

    Hear from one of our ProtoX Founders

    “I absolutely would not have made the progress I did without ProtoX. It gave me the confidence, opportunity and motivation to conduct my first customer interviews and get my first paying customers. The program made me accountable, and gave me an opportunity to pitch my ideas and demonstrate my progress.

    During ProtoX I was able to ask for support or ideas from the Program Manager and the other founders, who came from different industries, experiences, and stages of life. It gave me a more rounded view than just working alone.”

    Victoria Edghill, founder of Relievables (ProtoX Alumni; INCUBATE Accelerator Class 15)