What is Prime and Accelerators?

As used in the world of Startups and the tech world, Accelerators are fixed-term, cohort-based programs that include mentorship, training, workshops and usually involve a public pitch event or demo day. They are a fast moving way to turn ideas into reality.

ON Prime is our pre-accelerator program to help teams develop their concepts away in a testing and refinement space. See more below.

Which ON program is right for our idea and team?

ON Prime and ON Accelerate are designed to complement each other.

ON Prime is an open and collaborative program for existing sci-tech projects as well as new technologies and projects that are still in development. The program helps teams to ensure they are working on the right problem, provides frameworks to create and test assumptions about their idea and provide recommendations towards next steps. It can be considered a 'pre-Accelerator'.

ON Accelerate is designed for teams that have significant traction with their idea and target market. This may be in the form of contracts for paid or unpaid trials, or at the most advanced stage, recurring sales with both new and existing customers. This implies that teams will have a demonstrable prototype of their product or service and have secured any appropriate intellectual property rights.

It is expected that teams applying for ON Accelerate would have conducted significant engagement with their potential customers and be able to demonstrate what they learned throughout, including what the total addressable market is and what competition exists.

Occasionally we will run accelerator experiences that are tailored to a specific theme or challenge to address - more information will be made available on the website when these opportunities arise. For example, we have offered tailored ON Primes for science and technology projects like Australia's national security, defence and Northern Australia challenges.

Which ON Prime is best for our idea?

For ON Prime 3, we offered four different categories. Applicants chose from; ON Prime 3 (for general big ideas), Defence, Cyber or Developing Northern Australia.

Do I have to participate in ON Prime to be eligible for ON Accelerate?

No, if your idea proposition is at Investment Readiness Level (IRL) Stage 3, you can apply directly for ON Accelerate. 

What's in it for you?

Teams who participate in ON have an opportunity to:

  • refine their value proposition, and take it to the next level
  • fully investigate the potential of their customer and market
  • access ON's extensive mentor network of practicing entrepreneurs and investors, leveraging their coaching and connections
  • develop entrepreneurial thinking and capability
  • leverage facilitated pitching opportunities to engage interested and relevant investment funds
  • Gain access to funding to support program participation: up to $5,000 is available to ON Prime teams as a performance bonus throughout the program. Teams accepted in to ON Accelerate are provided with a $15,000 OPEX budget, and high performing teams in ON Accelerate have the opportunity to receive a bonus of up to $10,000.

Going through any accelerator program is life changing. Participants develop market insight, business acumen, networks and entrepreneurial capability, with long-term career benefits. Hear what previous participants have to say about participating in ON .

What about my IP?

All IP remains the property of the team or their business unit/sponsoring institute. All ON participants sign agreements before an ON accelerator commences, that has provisions for background IP protection and non-disclosure.

When does it start?

  • ON Prime3 (including all sub-Primes): Applications closed on 28 July 2017. Teams will be notified in August 2017 with the program due to begin in September. All specific program details are sent to successful teams via email.
  • ON Accelerate4: Applications for ON Accelerate 4 closed on Friday, 13 October. Teams will be notified and Bootcamp will begin late November 2017. The Accelerate 4 will run from December 2017 until the Demo Day event in April 2018. Register your interest for next years Accelerate intake at ON Accelerate

How will applications be selected?

All applications that are submitted are first validated by their sponsoring institute, prior to progressing through to the Evaluation stage. This is to ensure that each team has the full support of their sponsoring institute to participate in the program.

After validation, a comprehensive online evaluation process is undertaken by a panel of external science leaders and commercial experts. Applications are judged per the eligibility criteria and are evaluated against evidence of impact potential, market opportunity, competitive strength (technology readiness level & IP position), team strength (diversity, ability to be coached, multidisciplinary, cross-organisation) and evidence of traction.

A shortlist of teams is made from the evaluation process. For ON Accelerate, the shortlisted teams are invited to participate in a two-day Selection Bootcamp event where teams will be provided with training and coaching simulating the accelerator experience. At the conclusion of the selection bootcamp, the teams will pitch to a panel of external judges for a spot in the accelerator.

Approximately eight to ten teams progress through into each ON accelerator, to ensure training and access to mentors is of a high standard.

When will I find out if my application was successful?

Successful applicants will be notified approximately two weeks after the application period has closed.

What is the commitment required from participants?

We expect 2-3 people per team on average to commit to the full ON accelerator experience.

ON Prime is a part-time accelerator with approximately five face-to-face sessions (six days in total) over eight weeks.

ON Accelerate is a full-time accelerator with approximately 30 per cent of the 12 week program being delivered face-to-face.

I'm not sure I can commit to the time required, due to existing work commitments. What should I do?

Talk to us. Time is one of the biggest impediments of ON participation – particularly in ON Accelerate. We can connect you to one of the fifty+ teams who have already completed the ON accelerator experience to share strategies on how to manage the time commitment.

Who is running the ON program?

CSIRO, as Australia's leading scientific organisation, has been tasked with powering this national accelerator on behalf of the nation. CSIRO coordinates with external organisations that specialise in accelerating ventures based on scientific research to deliver and facilitate the ON accelerator experiences.

Read more about the current ON facilitators and mentors.

Where are the ON accelerator programs held?

As Australia's national accelerator, we are dedicated to offering ON accelerator experiences across the country. To date we've delivered ON experiences in  Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Geelong, Sydney, Adelaide, Newcastle, Toowoomba and Perth.

We anticipate that each round of ON Prime will continue to be delivered in various locations simultaneously across the country to meet demand.

Each session of ON Accelerate is delivered in various locations that best suit the make-up of the Cohort. ON Accelerate teams receive an OPEX budget of $15,000 at the commencement of the program to assist team members with any required travel expenses.

What if I need to travel?

We endeavour to run ON Prime in every major city where there is demand, i.e. when enough teams are successfully selected to support delivery in a certain location. If you are required to travel outside of your 'home' location to participate in ON Prime (e.g. for one of our themed Primes, because you are a ‘remote’ member of your team or because there isn't a program running in your location) ON will provide an operating budget to help cover your travel costs.

Your operating budget will typically extend to cover return flights for all five ON Prime sessions as well as one nights’ accommodation for the first session. Ground transfers and additional expenses are not included.

What are the eligibility requirements for ON?

ON is open to teams with at least one research employee from CSIRO, Australian universities or Australia's publicly funded research agencies (PFRA's). The research employee may be full time, part-time or casual employee of a PFRA. Read more about what we're looking for.

Please note that to access any ON application portal, your team's representative from the eligible PFRA must use their organisation's email address to register and create an account. This is to ensure that only those teams who meet our eligibility requirements can register.

What are publicly funded research agencies (PFRA's)?

Australia's publicly funded research agencies include Australian universities and organisations such as CSIRO, AIMS and Geosciences Australia.

What happens if your idea isn't successful?

Your idea may be a great idea, however not successful for selection. Don't feel discouraged as you will be provided with valuable feedback and learnings to help you continue to progress your idea. Depending on demand we will be running ON programs a number of times each year and you are welcome to reapply each time.

What happens if I don't create a new business by the end of the Accelerator?

Not every team in ON Accelerate will spin-out from their sponsor organisation. It may be that only a few of the teams each round achieve that outcome however the benefits of participation and learning will feed back into current and future projects.

How can I get more information?

If you have any more questions or would like to be involved, please get in touch with the ON team at on@csiro.au.

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