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Sydney’s Business Innovation Program 2024 to Fuel Small Business Growth

By Shannon Bourke
  • City of Sydney Council’s free business innovation program is open for applications 
  • Program is open to retail, hospitality and tourism businesses and social enterprises within the City of Sydney catchment area
  • Program is delivered by Sydney based innovation agency, Disruptors Co out of the TechCentral hub

Twenty small businesses have the opportunity to join the 2024 business innovation accelerator program funded by the City of Sydney and delivered by Disruptors Co. Designed to support and encourage the growth of businesses with less than 200 employees in the retail, hospitality, tourism and social enterprise sectors, the 2024 program combines business, digital and expert sessions and is offered free of charge to a limited number of businesses.

The program is delivered by Disruptors Co, a leading agency that facilitates innovation programs for CSIRO and Optus. 

The Business Innovation Program (BIP) is a free, 12 week program that will provide small-to-medium sized businesses with the tools, resources, and mentorship they need to take their business to the next level. The program will focus on developing innovative solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing these sectors, such as adapting to changing consumer preferences, improving sustainability, and enhancing the customer experience.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of Sydney, contributing to economic development and creating jobs,” Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore AO said.

“We want to provide them with the tools and knowledge to thrive and succeed, so we’ve partnered with local digital innovation consultancy, Disruptors Co, to develop a mentor-style program for businesses.

“This is a chance for businesses ready to challenge the way they operate, embrace the latest trends, and explore opportunities to take their brand to the next level.”

Businesses accepted into the program will receive a range of benefits, including:

  • Access to expert mentors and advisors from Disruptors Co and other Industry guests
  • Intensive workshops and training sessions on topics such as design thinking, marketing, and finance
  • Opportunities to network and collaborate with other startups in the program
  • Access to co-working spaces and other resources.

Participants will also have the opportunity to network with and learn from previous participants of the program. “Participating in the innovation program was an eye-opening experience that revealed my business’s growth potential and areas for improvement,” said program alumni, Catherine Colubriale, owner of Catherine Colubriale Couture, Paddington.

“I’ve already recommended it to other businesses because of its substantial impact on shaping decisions and strategies for the future of my business.

“The program’s insights are invaluable and continue to influence my business journey even after its completion.”

“We are combining in-person and virtual sessions to make it as easy as possible for participants”, explains Disruptors Co Co-CEO, Gavin Heaton. “We’ll kick off with a two day skills bootcamp, then fortnightly sessions on topics like web skills, social media, sustainability, business growth and business plans. There’s also one-on-one coaching, and of course, an end of program showcase.”

Applications for the program are now open, and interested startups can apply online through the City of Sydney website. The program is open to:

  • Independent and small-to-medium-sized businesses (less than 200 employees) in retail, food and beverage or tourism sectors. We would also welcome applications from fast growing social enterprises and First Nations businesses.
  • Both bricks and mortar stores and online retail sites. We are interested to hear from online businesses committed to serving the Sydney Local Government Area and establishing pop up opportunities or bricks and mortar operations in the City of Sydney local catchment area.
  • Businesses with a minimum of two years operating experience, currently in the growth/scale-up stage.

Disruptors Co Facilitator, Tracey Hamilton, has said “This program is about supporting the businesses who truly deliver the magic that is Sydney, the cafes, secret laneway tour guides, the fantastic independent boutiques and re-emerging bars and nightlife stories, and giving them a springboard to grow.”

“We’re excited to be working with the City of Sydney council to deliver this program and help support the growth of startups in these important sectors,” said Heaton. “Because places in the program are limited, we are hosting an online information session on Monday, 4 December 2023 at 6pm to answer any questions and to help businesses submit a really competitive application to the program.”

The program commences on Monday 4 March 2024.

Applications are now open and close at 5pm on Thursday 25 January. 

To find out more about the Business Innovation Program or to apply, visit the City of Sydney website here.

To register for the Online Information Session, visit.

Read all the Founder Stories from our 2023 program alumni, here

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