A new accelerator program – Start House – was launched in Sydney last night, made unique by the fact that it will bring diversity to innovation particularly to intenders and startups in the regions.

The one-of-a kind program was officially launched at Fishburners in front of a room full of entrepreneurs, investors and leaders of the innovation ecosystem from Sydney and the Hunter region.

Start House, is a unique model as it requires no equity from startups, will encourage entrepreneurs to stay in the regions and will, in fact, tempt city-based innovators to move out of the CBD to secure a better quality of life while still having full access to the innovation ecosystem.

Start House is the brainchild of the Business Centre, a Newcastle based not-for-profit, which saw that founders were being discriminated against if they were regionally based or if they were working full time or had a family and therefore were not able to move to capital cities to build their business.

Steve Wait, CEO of the Business Centre, said Start House is a distributed innovator and accelerator model designed to bring ‘diversity to innovation’.

“Not every startup has the stereotypical 20-something founder living in Sydney working in a funky co-space.  Founders come from all age groups, all backgrounds, all socioeconomic groups and all geographical locations. We felt the traditional incubator and accelerator models were discriminating against the vast majority of founders.

“Through the Start House program we are looking to support 50 varied but globally scalable startups and scaleups over the next year from the regions of Newcastle, Singleton, Maitland and the Central Coast (Nexus Smart Hub) while keeping them in those locations.

“The structure of this program will allow us to accept applications from a diverse range of intenders and already existing companies and to support these innovators in their current locations.”

Mr Wait said that Start House is funded by the Australian Government through the Incubator Support Program allowing the Business Centre to offer this program to many and diverse startups and scaleups without taking equity.

“By not taking equity we show we are an honest broker in supporting these startups and scaleups. We give them all the support they need without taking away half the value of their business.”

Mr Wait said it was important to keep innovation in the regions and that some of the talent in the regions was very impressive.

“We were seeing innovators in the regions who did not want to or simply could not take off to the city to chase their dreams and we feel there is absolutely no need for them to do that.

“Start House will encourage innovators in the regions to stay where they are while allowing access to all of the experts-in-residence, business mentoring, pitch practices and pitch nights that we will provide.”

For more information on Start House or any of the services offered at the Business Centre, call (02) 4925 7700 or send an email to info@businesscentre.com.au

Image (L – R): Gordon Whitehead, Start House Program Manager, Daniel Smith, Regional Incubator Facilitator at Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and Steve Wait CEO of The Business Centre at the Start House launch at Fishburners Sydney.

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