auspost pitchfestAustralia Post Regional Pitchfest gives anyone from regional Australia with a BIG INNOVATIVE idea the chance to pitch to an expert panel in front of a live audience.

The Australia Post Regional Pitchfest is a national program of business growth opportunities and experiences for entrepreneurs and small business owners. The 2017 program includes a national pitching competition, networking events, business growth workshops, mentoring sessions, school entrepreneurship program, cash prizes and promotional opportunities.

To apply for the Canberra Pitchfest being held on Friday 16th June, visit

city skylineApplications for this round of the ACT Government’s Innovation Connect grant program will close on Monday 27 February.

The program is designed to help Canberra-based businesses develop innovative products and services. If your business is in the early stages of preparing an innovative product or service for investment or commercialisation, then Innovation Connect may be able to help you get to the next step.

It is a competitive grant program that provides matched-funding support for smaller, technology focused startups and entrepreneurs to accelerate viable, innovative ideas along the commercialisation pathway. Innovation Connect provides competitive grants of between $5,000 to $30,000 of matching funding for proving your concept (e.g. developing a prototype).

From 2017, Innovation Connect will include a ‘Renewables Stream’ funded from the Renewable Energy Innovation Fund. This is a dedicated funding stream designed to support commercial opportunities within the renewable energy and cleantech sectors. Application requirements and processes for the Innovation Connect and Renewables Streams can be found at on the Government's website

teamwork school 834138 1920Aidan and Krishan used theirs to start an information portal, Kristen used hers to buy insurance for her pet-sitting business and Sam used his to get design work done for his property marketing business.

What do all these young entrepreneurs have in common? They all took advantage of an innovative initiative called the ACT Microcredit Loan Program. Through the program eligible participants receive free mentoring and business advice for a period of 6 months and microloans to help get their businesses off the ground or to expand an existing businesses.

gifThe Global Innovation Fund invests in social innovations that aim to improve the lives and opportunities of millions of people in the developing world.

It uses a mix of grants and risk capital to support breakthrough solutions to global development challenges from social enterprises, for-profit firms, non-profit organisations, researchers and government agencies.

The fund accepts applications on a continuous basis, with no deadlines or “rounds” of funding.

amerQ deloitteIf you are a young entrepreneur at the early stages of starting your own business, you probably spend all of your spare time thinking about how to get funding for it.

You keep reading all the news about how start-ups operating out of Silicon Valley, London, and even Sydney have raised a “ridiculous” amount of money at a valuation approaching millions of dollars. You start wondering what you are doing wrong and why are you the only one not getting the million dollar breakthroughs.

Being an entrepreneur is simple, you thought, think of an idea (better still just cut and paste something from overseas and pretend it’s never been done before!) create a website, develop a social media presence, put together a slide deck and start pitching to investors!

microcredit crowdLighthouse Business Innovation Centre (Lighthouse) in partnership with the ACT Government launched the ACT Microcredit Loan Program in 2011. Originally an initiative aimed at improving the opportunities for women in the ACT, the program was expanded to support all low income earners in 2014 with Westpac joining the partnership.

To date over 60 loans have been granted and around 45% of the businesses established are still operating. Other recipients have repaid their loans and re-entered full time employment. Eighty percent of loans have been granted to woman and to date there has been a default rate of less than 4%. This impressive record is starting to gain the attention of other organisations around Australia.

UweBoettcher1Uwe Boettcher is the Principal of Boettcher Law and has been practicing successfully in the ACT for over thirty five years.

While the business is well known both in Canberra and interstate, we were specifically interested in talking to Uwe about his long term career as an active Angel investor in Australian start-ups.

GrantReady Logo shadoGrantReady offers an online, central resource to find out about over 800 grant opportunities available each day. It can be a useful tool to help you determine what grants are suitable for your business.

GrantReady lists both grants suitable for businesses (GrantGuru Business) and not-for-profits or community organisations (GrantGuru Community).

EdlfLogoA new micro-finance loan program funded by ERM Business EnergyEpicorp Limited  and Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre.

The loan fund provides low cost, unsecured loans of up to $10,000 to assist with the costs of skills and knowledge transfer to key individuals in businesses in the ACT with high-growth potential. Funds should assist recipients in obtaining or refining key skills and capabilities, grow the company, and achieve their business goals.

act-microcredit-program-logoThe ACT Microcredit Loan Program was launched by the Minister for Community Services, Andrew Barr MLA on 24 February 2014.

The program is delivered via a three-way partnership involving the ACT Government, Westpac Institutional Bank and Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre. This partnership seeks to provide fair, safe and ethical loans to people who, because of their circumstances, are not able to access mainstream financial services.