Copy of Shaqaeq+mentor.jpg

What even is a pre-accelerator program? 

A pre-accelerator program helps individuals/small teams who have a startup idea to test and validate their idea for a high-growth tech startup.

You come to us with a problem you are passionate about and truly want to solve. We help you understand your problem space and your customers deeply, understand the existing market, players and work-arounds, develop and rigorously test your hypothesis (yes, this is like a science-class but even more fun!), and finally help build a minimum viable product (MVP) for your business.  

Who are we really after?

We are looking for the A-team of exceptional Migrapreneurs who want to join us in creating Australia 2.0!

Hear from our migrapreneurs from the 2018 program on why they joined Catalysr in the video below.

  • Are you a hacker, engineer, hustler, scientist, thinker, marketer, business mogul or do'er?

  • Do you deeply care about solving hard-problems?

  • Have you had a problem or business opportunity in mind, but no way to make it real?

  • Are you interested in validating your problem, market, prototype, Proof-of-concept?

  • Were you or your co-founder born outside of Australia?

  • Do you want to join us in creating a better Australia?

Even if some of these points speak to you, express interest to join our next program in 2020. 

Looking for more inspiration? See our migrapreneurs pitch at end of the program Demo-fair in March 2019, in collaboration with Fishburners and AWS Startups.

2019 Key dates

  • Application Deadline (closed): Monday, 1st July 2019 - 5:00 pm AEST

  • Phone Interviews for short-listed candidates: 17th June - Wednesday, 3rd July 2019

  • Decision Notification: Friday, 5th July 2019

  • Program dates: 20th July - 18th December 2019 

Program Overview

Our 6-month pre-accelerator program is run in 2 stages. First stage is Ideate and second stage is Accelerate.


Ideate program will run from 20th July - 5th October 2019, and will be offered to top 100 migrapreneurs.

  • Weekly Master-classes: 12 x weekly masterclasses on startup essentials from our expert mentors, startup ecosystem and industry partners. Our curriculum is based on Design Thinking, Lean Startup Methodology and MIT’s Disciplined Entrepreneurship (DE) framework.

  • Experiential Learning with your Migrapreneur Community and Mentors: Collaborative work with other migrapreneurs every Saturday (for 12 weeks) in the presence of mentors to apply learnings from master-classes, build accountability, and make progress on your startup.

  • Community Events: Monthly community events such as hiking, dinners etc. with your cohort, Catalysr alumni, mentors and supporters.

Cost of Attendance

IDEATE program is completely FREE to attend, thanks to the generous support of our partners & mentors.


Accelerate program will be offered to up-to 20 best start-ups from the ideate program, and will run from 12th October - 18th December 2019

  • Off-site Startup Bootcamp: Great opportunity to get away from the city, to spend a weekend with other exceptional Migrapreneurs in the cohort, meet the Catalysr team and mentors.

  • 1-on-1 startup mentoring with our world-class entrepreneurs-in-residence.

  • Introductions to investors, potential customers and follow-on accelerator programs.

  • Fireside chats and Ask me Anything (AMA) sessions with global founders.

  • Office-hours with industry and startup mentors.

  • Roadshow with potential funders, VCs and follow-on accelerators.

  • Other startup support services on a needs basis (e.g. accounting, legal, marketing and customer acquisition support).

  • Demo-Fair: Top startups pitch to our partners, supporters and investors for funding and other on-going support.

  • Pre-seed funding: We will invest $10,000 AUD each, in up to 2 top performing startups at the end of accelerate program.

  • Alumni community: Startups are really hard. So we want to invite you to join our community of over 100 alumni after the program, that is growing every-day, to stay connected, access learn and support and share your journey with other migrapreneurs

There will also be additional support from our major partners CGU Insurance and foundation partner, Vasudhara Foundation who have committed to supporting the next generation of Migrapreneurs! 

Cost of Attendance

In the ACCELERATE program, we take 3% equity (shares) in exchange for services for the 20 top startups that get selected for this stage. We will also take an additional 2% equity for the top 2 startups who we provide $10k of pre-seed investment at the end of the program. We don’t take a board seat on any of the startups we support.

The reason we take this equity is twofold. Firstly, so that we have a skin-in-the-game and an incentive to keep supporting your startup beyond the program. Secondly, with a pay-it-forward business model, we want Catalysr to be financially sustainable and not reliant on grants and sponsorships in the long-term.

Please note

We require every migrapreneur/team to participate in the Ideate program before joining the Accelerate program, regardless of what stage their startup is at.

Eligibility criteria

  • Migrapreneur Led: There must be at least one first-generation migrant or refugee co-founder in your team, who will participate in the pre-accelerator program. We also take international students/temporary work visas, but you have to ensure that you meet your visa requirements on working hours etc. In short, Permanent Residence OR Australian Citizenship is not a requirement, but you should be allowed to legally work in Australia.

  • Idea/Early Stage: You have an idea to start a start-up in Australia, OR are already running one and are currently at an early stage (less than 2 years old OR Pre-SEED).  

  • Sydney-based: As our program is run face to face in Sydney, you can be from anywhere in Australia OR the world, but need to be based in Sydney for the duration of this program (6 months).

For any questions you can contact us here or email us on: