Germinate Accelerator



63 startup companies have graduated from ilab’s Germinate accelerator since 2012, making ilab one of the most experienced startup accelerators in Australia.  From retail and hospitality to healthtech, fintech, engineering, analytics, sports, education, entertainment, drone tech, agriculture and tourism, ilab has backed startups and founders across a full range of industries

Germinate includes intense mentoring and networking through a structured accelerator program including , startup basics education, co-working space, a supporting cohort of fellow founders and culminates in a pitch night with investors

On top of this, participants will receive $7.5k grant per team.  No equity will be taken for program.

Applications to ilab’s Germinate are are accepted from teams whose key founder(s) are UQ Undergraduate and Postgraduate students (including MBA’s), Researchers, UQ Staff  and UQ recent alumni (graduated from a UQ course within the last 4 years).




  1. Register your interest. We’ll send you an application form when applications open for the Germinate 11 Cohort in November 2017)
  2. Fill out an online application before the due date (TBD)
  3. Judges will review the applications and will create a shortlist.
  4. If you are shortlisted, you are invited to attend the Germinate Bootcamp Weekend where you will develop your startup proposition and pitch to the selection judges.
  5. Winners are notified the following week and commence the program immediately.


  1. October 2017: Applications open
  2. Q+A Sessions (Dates TBC)
  3. November 2017: Applications Close
  4. December 2017 : Bootcamp for shortlisted startups
  5. December 2017: Notification to successful applicants
  6. December 2017: Germinate program commences
  7. Late March 2018 (TBC): Investor / Stakeholder Pitch and Demo night


Who can apply?

This ilab at UQ Germinate program is accepting applications from startups where the key founders are UQ students (both under graduate and post graduate students from all faculties), UQ Researchers (both postdoc and PhD candidates) and UQ recent alumni (i.e. alumni who have graduated from a UQ course within the past 4 years).  If you are seeking clarification on your eligibility, then please contact us ASAP.


How much funding?

We want you to be full time on this.  To assist, UQ allocates each successful team with $7,500 of  funding. This will be paid in three instalments of $2,500 throughout the program. Teams need to demonstrate continued commitment and progress during the accelerator to qualify for each payment.

(Note that if you have previously received support from UQ, you may not be eligible for funding.  This will most likely impact researchers or staff.)


How much equity do you take?

None. Nada. Zip. ilab at UQ is focused on building UQ entrepreneurs who can build companies.


What is the shortlisting bootcamp?

Following their applications, shortlisted startup founders will be invited to a Germinate selection bootcamp where they will evolve their proposition through several pitching rounds, will participate in several startup relevant workshops (lean startups, founder agreements, pitching tips, IP basics etc) and then present to a final selection panel on the last evening.  Selection founders will be invited to commence the Germinate program.  Whether you get through or not, ilab’s Germinate bootcamp weekends will definitely move your startup concept forward a lot and you will learn a lot.


What commitment is required?

Startups rarely succeed without laser focus and 100 percent commitment from founders.

Germinate’s approach is to conduct weekly seminars on various aspects of startup development and regular checkins on progress both to ilab and to other startups in the group.We understand that for the Winter Germinate program, for students there is only one month of vacation before returning to studies.  We recognise this and will ramping up the intensity of the July weeks even more with less prescribed time at ilab later on to allow some flexibility.

With this as background, it is up to you to demonstrate in your application that the startup will have the necessary personal commitment to get the full value from the Germinate program.  If you have other outside specific commitments that overlap the program but would like to apply, please contact us.


What mentoring and networks are provided?

You can expect to receive approximately 2 mentoring sessions each per week from external mentors as well as weekly mentoring from ilab.  These mentors also provide connections to their own relevant connections.  The mentors will be dependent on the cohort makeup and the progress.


Do I need to be in a team?

While we have had successful single founders, startup teams with founders with balanced skill sets, naturally make faster progress and therefore get more benefit from the program.

How do you choose successful applicants?

Germinate 10 is focused on teams whose key founder(s) are UQ Undergraduate and Postgraduate students (including MBA’s), Researchers and UQ recent alumni).  Successful applications in addition to the above criteria will also demonstrate unique commercial ideas that create value with demonstrated market need and the potential for high growth in this competitive process. The idea’s judged to be the most viable by our industry panel of experts will progress to bootcamp for shortlisting and through a second judging panel to ultimate selection.  Social Enterprises are encouraged to apply.

What level of maturity should my startup be?

We are targeting the program at very early stage startups and founders. We are looking beyond ideas however, and look for proof of market validation in applications.


What type of ideas are appropriate?

Germinate 10 has no real restriction on types of startups.  They can be tech, or non-tech, for profit or social enterprise, consumer or business.  They should however demonstrate a unique value proposition with committed founders.


What about Social Enterprise startups?

Social Enterprises with multiple bottom lines including fiscal sustainability are welcome and encouraged to participate.


What about IP?

It is useful to work from the premise that someone, somewhere else in the world has already had your idea. Accelerators such as ilab always focus attention on execution. The winners will be those who get to the right market with the right product fastest. Having said that, we also recognise that by focusing on UQ related founders, the likelihood of unique IP that needs appropriate protection is significant.  In these cases, we will discuss individually specific treatment of your IP.

We also seek clarification that any IP supporting the startup is either fully owned by the founders, or there is transparent support by the IP owners for the startup to use the IP in the Germinate program.


Are there other perks?

Absolutely. Startups who are selected for the Germinate programs enjoy access to over $400,000 of services from ilab’s business partners including Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Mathworks.



Our program differences

Benefit Germinate Incubate
Funding Up to $7.5k services only
Mentoring approx 20 broad mentors some
Facilities, WiFi Internet + Desks yes – permanent desks 3 mths 1st 2 mths free then perm or hot desk (1)
Term Pgm Duration approx 3mth up to 18 months
Investor introduction yes yes
Partner deals access all partner deals access some partner deals
Startup seminars yes limited
Cohort benefit yes limited
Progress oversight weekly as requested