Startup Academy

Connecting innovative startup ideas with startup founders.

The Startup Academy (SUA) is a totally new concept for creating and scaling new high-growth innovation based startups, while providing an interactive learning opportunity. SUA has been designed to fix the main reason why most startups fail; a product or service that doesn't solve a big enough problem for the right customer with the best-fit business model.

Startup Academy's point-of-difference is that either you can come with your own idea or we have a bank of ideas from UQ researchers that may have disruptive startup potential. Finding a customer with a problem you can solve better than anyone else is the most fundamental component of entrepreneurship and innovation. However unless the entrepreneur has BOTH a product or service innovation AND an innovative business model, the entrepreneur may be unable to create, extract and protect new unlocked value. This is because innovation is required to be investible, scalable and sustainable, providing a barrier to bigger and faster competitors. The Startup Academy will help you develop a validated Value Proposition and Business Model.


Applications for Startup Academy Semester 1, 2019 will open soon.

Startup Ideas Showcase

At this event, the Startup Academy process will be outlined and a range of UQ scientists will present their new startup ideas based on their research. Following the presentations there will be a “speed-dating” exercise where participants can discuss and explore startup ideas with the inventors and researchers.

Lean Startup Bootcamp

The following day participants will attend a boot camp to start working on a Business Model Canvas for their startup idea. We will facilitate the formation of small teams to work on each of the new ideas, based on the complementary skills and experiences of the participants. We will be using the Lean Launchpad Program (LLP), developed at Stanford University to discover the best first customer, the problem the idea solves and a sustainable and scalable Business Model Canvas.

Mentoring Meet-ups

The teams will be required to interview at least 100 customers over the two months of the SUA program. The skills necessary for these interviews will be provided at the boot camp. Teams will come together every two weeks to discuss what they have learnt and receive feedback from startup experts and mentors. As the teams progress the value proposition and business model will become more clear, compelling and competitive.

Pitching for cash and entry to UQ’s startup incubator

The Startup Academy concludes with a pitching event to an invited audience of entrepreneurship experts, founders, investors and industry leaders. The teams will be pitching for a share of $10,000 in prize money to take their idea to market. Teams will also be pitching for entry into the ilab UQ Germinate program where successful teams get $10,000 and three months of intensive coaching to launch their startup.

ilab UQ Germinate is one of Australia's leading startup programs. In the past five years, ilab has supported over 160 startup companies who have benefited from close to $40 million in early stage investment.

What’s in it for me?

Startup Academy is a totally new opportunity for students at UQ based on the well tested Lean Launchpad program.

By participating in Startup Academy you’ll not only be working alongside some of the brightest minds in the entrepreneurship and innovation space but you’ll have the opportunity to create real change by tackling local and global challenges, with the opportunity to receive funding to bring your ideas to life.

Participants will apply their knowledge in a different way and gain practical skills that will set them up for future success. With access to leading academics in entrepreneurship and innovation and industry mentors you’ll develop an extensive network of contacts to help you on your entrepreneurial journey.


Do I need to have an idea already?

No, just a keen interest in entrepreneurship and innovation!


Do I need to have a startup?

No, but if you do have a startup, or a startup idea you can bring that along.


Can I apply as an individual?

Yes! You can apply as either an individual or as a team. If you are applying as an individual we will assist you in finding a suitable team based on your experience and skills.


How does Startup Academy fit into UQ’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation ecosystem?

Startup Academy is part of The University of Queensland’s Entrepreneurship offering. UQ offers support at every stage of the entrepreneurial journey, from idea creation, to testing the market, to commercialisation.

If you want to find out more about entrepreneurship and innovation at UQ, visit the Entrepreneurship website.