Sydney Genesis is the University of Sydney cross-faculty start-up incubator program.
We started in 2008 and since then we have supported more than 700 USYD students and alumni to start their business ideas. Each semester more than 100 student enrol in the program, getting access to weekly workshops, one to one mentorship with outstanding entrepreneurs and business leaders and pitching opportunities.
The seven finalist teams present their ideas before a judging panel that awards the winners with cash and in-kind prizes. In 2014 we expanded to South East Asia running the program simultaneously in three countries: Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar. By the end of 2016 we hope to be established in six countries, leading the way of university entrepreneurship
Sydney Genesis operates in the pursuit of four key objectives:
To challenge and empowers our students to build businesses that are profitable, smart and have heart.
To bridge theoretical learning in the classroom with real-world applicability to meet the challenges of industry, the government and the broader community.
To extend and enhance the University's entrepreneurship teaching through all faculties and at all levels from undergraduate students to executive education;
To provide practical networking opportunities and bridge the gap between students and entrepreneurial communities, both locally and abroad.
IF YOU ARE AN INDIVIDUAL OR A TEAM WITH A BUSINESS IDEA
You need to first create a group on Thinkable.org, who is hosting our program online. Register here and then create a group, where you can invite others. Click here to see a short video on how to create a group. Even if you are on your own, please enrol as a group.
Once the group has formed, download & fill out the TEAM submission form here. Upon completion, click on the APPLY button to finish your submission and upload the form as a PDF. If you need help,Click here to see how to create a submission in Thinkable. Any problems please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also recommend you to upload a 2 minute video about your idea, your team and how you think Genesis can help you. you will be able to upload the video through the application page.
Applications are open from the 25th of January to the 20th of March
Accepted teams will receive an email with more information on the 21st of March
Accepted teams will be invited to pitch their idea to other teams and mentors at the Kick off Night on the 24th of March from 5 to 7.30 at Sydney University.
IF YOU ARE AN INDIVIDUAL THAT WANTS TO BE PART OF A TEAM
Describe yourself, your passions and skills by downloading the EOI FOR JOINING A TEAM submission form here and don’t forget to leave your email address and/or your phone number.
Register on Thinkable, then click 'Apply' as an individual. Through this application process you will be able to upload the attachement as a PDF. Click here to see how to create a submission in Thinkable. Any problems please contact email@example.com for help.
Upload a 2 minute video in the submission (optional) if you want to reach out to as many people as possible
At anytime you can learn about others in the program via their own submissions and videos to help you find a team where you can add value. You can also contact any user in Thinkable via 'Messages' under your profile menu to start a conversation.
We recommend you to attend the Kick off Night on the 24th of March from 5 to 7.30 at Sydney University to listen to the teams’ pitches and see where you can add value. During the networking time, you can introduce yourself to them to explore opportunities for collaboration
Like us in Facebook to keep yourself updated on our teams progress. You can also leave a comment describing your skills and passions
Workshop Attendance to at least 80% of the workshops is mandatory from at least one member of the team.
The team leader must be a Sydney University current student, staff member or Alumni. The team leader has to present at the final pitch. The other team members can be external to Sydney University.
Teams can be any size; you can even enter by yourself. However typical teams are composed of 2-5 people. Students may also be a member of multiple teams but just team leaders of one.
Teams can add or remove people throughout the program, however the team leader must always be a Sydney University current student, staff member or Alumni. Sydney Genesis teams need to be kept informed of every change.
Students admitted through the program will be given access to our Slack community, were all the information about the program will be accessible and daily updated. On that platform you will find plenty of resources to help you to develop your business plan and prototype and to get in touch with Genesis entrepreneurs from our programs in Sydney and overseas.
Within the first three weeks of the program, students will be matched up with a mentor based on their requirements/needs and the mentors’ expertise.
Eligibility of ideas
Ideas are only eligible if the business idea submitted originated from one or more members of the team. The IP belongs solely to the students.
The program is open to teams that may rely upon IP owned by third parties, such as patented technology developed by companies or Universities. It is not necessary at the time of entry to have negotiated licenses or other agreements to use these ideas.
Business that have been up and running for more than 6 months are not accepted into the program.
The information submitted will be treated confidentially. Non-disclosure agreements will not be signed with any team. In order to participate in the program, you have to provide complete and reliable information about your idea and your team.
Within the first three weeks of the program, the teams can change their business idea completely. The new idea will be revised by the Genesis team to make sure it follows all the criteria of the program. After the team is matched up with the mentor, the idea can change and pivot, but the core (the proposition) must stay the same.
Business plan (by the 6th of June): a consistent up to 5 pages business plan with key information about the business must be delivered. Some templates and examples will be available in the Slack E-learning community. The experts invited to the workshops and your mentor will help you on this task.
Prototype (by the 6th of June): this will vary depending on your idea. For example, if you are thinking to set up a venue, a prototype could be a map, a mockup or a drawing. If you are developing a website or app, the prototype could be code (a beta version we can check online) or you can prototype on paper using this amazing app.
Video pitch (by the 6th of June): as a team you would be ask to submit a video pitch to describe your idea and how it has grown through the program. If your idea has changed from the original one you submitted, it's ok, just explain why. The video can have any format, but need to be shorter than three minutes.
The three deliverables need to be submitted through Thinkable.org (same platform where the teams submission form were submitted).
All teams will be expected to be ready and willing to pitch their ideas before a panel of judges at the conclusion of the program. However, only seven finalist teams will be invited to present at the Final Pitch Event, on the 14th of June at Sydney University. Finalist teams will be given 5 minutes to pitch and 2 minutes plus 2 minutes for Q&A.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are accepted into the program you will be asked to sign a set of terms and conditions and a confidentiality agreement.
Can I enter more than one idea?
Yes. You can enter more than one idea. If you do that with the same team, after the workshops your team should decide what idea present to the mentors to get evaluated. Mentors will decide who goes to the Final Pitch. For this occasion, you should present a pitch deck and a landing page/app demo. If you enter more than one idea with different teams, you can still be part of both groups until the end of the program.
Can I join Sydney Genesis if I cannot attend the workshops?
Yes, you still can apply, although we highly recommend to attend the workshops as you will receive real feedback on your project and update content on how to build and manage your business. Attending or not, you must still submit your pitch deck and landing page as every team and, if finalist, you will receive mentoring sessions. Again, these mentoring sessions are not mandatory, but we recommend to take the most of them. Mentors are quite flexible, so should be easier to arrange a time to meet them. As a finalist, you will be also invited to present your idea at the Final Pitch. It is not necessary that all the members of the team attend all the workshops or mentoring sessions, so if there is more than one person in your team, try to work out your schedule, it's worth it!
Can I enter by myself? Are there restrictions on team size?
Yes, you can enter by yourself as teams can be of any size. However, teams are typically composed of two to five people. You can still make changes in your team during the workshops phase. After that, if you get to the final, you have to keep the same team until the Final Pitch.
Is Sydney Genesis open to undergrads and postgrads?
Sydney Genesis is open to anyone including undergrads, postgrads, postdocs, lecturers and alumni. Young innovators and entrepreneurs not currently enrolled in University are also encouraged to apply.
Do I have to be from Sydney University?
At least one contestant in each team must be a current Sydney University student or Alumni. Teams must explain the position and equity stake of the Sydney University students in the proposed venture. It is expected that Sydney University students will fill a critical role in the management of the venture; they should not be bolt-ons or afterthoughts.
What types of venture opportunities will judges be looking for?
Sydney Genesis is open to entrants from any industry. It doesn't matter if you've got a new piece of technology you want to sell globally, a new local retail concept. If you've got an idea that you want to bring to life, we want you to enter!
Can I enter my Honours/Masters/PhD thesis?
Of course! Successful entrants in Sydney Genesis are at the leading edge of innovation. Often that means thesis students. If you've been wondering how to commercialise your discoveries in the lab, entering Sydney Genesis will give you valuable experience in the venture capital raising process and contacts in the entrepreneurial community. Prizes will provide capital and professional support to winning teams so that they can commercialise their ideas.
I'm having problems uploading my application - who can I contact?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org who will help.
I'm interested in supporting the Sydney Genesis Start Up Program. How can I get involved?
Sydney Genesis is constantly looking to connect with the entrepreneurial community. We're looking for sponsors who seek funding one of our prizes and opportunities to connect with our contestants. We are also actively looking for mentors, judges or speakers who will engage with our entrepreneurs and the University. You can find more information in this document or you can contact Cayetana Martinez.
Questions not answered?
Please email Cayetana Martinez at email@example.com or post your question in either the 'Comments' panel on our Thinkable page, our Facebook page or Tweet us. We will endeavour to respond to you within 24 hours.
People's Choice Award
This award will be given by the Final Pitch attendants who will vote
Most Disruptive Enterprise
or the team that present the most innovative, cutting edge, unique business idea
Best solution for a Mega Trend challenge
for the venture that best addresses one of the global megatrend challenges listed in the CSIRO report