The Founder Institute in Sydney recently graduated their first class. We attended both the Sydney Showcase to hear the company pitches, and an information night for their next semester intake. Hannah DeMilta and  Fleur Fletcher were there to cover these events and learn more about the program. 

The panel of judges at the Inaugural Sydney Founder Showcase

For Sydneysiders with a business idea, there’s a great selection of pre-seed incubators/programs available to help turn their dreams into a reality.  The Founder Institute is one of those programs now available here.  

It’s a four month program, where the accepted participants meet once a week. One graduate described it as “part Survivor, part The Apprentice.” Attendees learn from mentors covering a range of topics, from research and business models to marketing and funding. Each week there is also “homework” to complete (up to 10 hours). If you can’t put in the work, or your idea doesn’t stack up… you leave. By the end of those four months, the group has whittled down to a handful.

The Sydney showcase was an evening for those program survivors to share their businesses through a short pitching and feedback session. We also heard from Keynote Speaker, Brad Howarth as he shared his insight on entrepreneurs and trends he is seeing in the industry.

Graduates this year included the following companies; 

Babeenotes – a digital and interactive version of the Baby’s Personal Health Record, available on all platforms and devices

ProcessGo! – a cloud application to help enterprise CFOs streamline costs by simplifying the selection profess of finding back office solutions

SmartSource – connects highly skilled professional women, who want to work flexible hours with businesses that need skilled part-time support locally

Task Orbit – a way to connect verified, serious corporate hires and LinkedIn-registered, highly-skilled professional contractors

Training Deals – the ‘Wotif’ model for training and certification courses, allows you to search for last-minute, discounted workshops and classes online

Applications are open until August 12th for the next semester. Want to apply? Here are some tips on what they look for in a business:

  1. Simple ideas win
  2. One company, one product, one revenue stream (again, keep it simple)
  3. Make sure you can name your ideal customer
  4. Be succinct. Can you explain your idea in 10 words or less?
  5. Choose a market that’s big enough for you to make mistakes
  6. Mix in ‘secret sauce’ to show you’re an expert. Ideally, something defensible.
  7. Be original (new or better)

Find out more by reading the FAQ, or apply here.

Thank you to co-directors Benjamin Chong and Benajmin Ranck for organising, and AAPT for hosting. 

This article was co-authored by Community Ambassador Fleur Fletcher and Sydney Curator, Hannah DeMilta. You can connect with Fleur and Hannah through Twitter @fleurfletcher @HannahDeMilta