The program for startups

In our three-month, challenge-based accelerator, you'll grow your business and connections in the government sector with an opportunity to secure an investment of up to $185,000 to develop your idea.

Build with a customer in the room

Chance to win a government contract of up to $150,000

Workshops on business design and product develoment

$35k capital funding to support your journey

Mentoring and advisors


Office space in Melbourne CBD

So, how does this work?

What is the CivVic Labs program?

CivVic Labs is an accelerator program that connects startups with government procurement opportunities. The program will guide government challenge owners and startups through a collaborative process to solve public sector challenges. During this period, CivVic Labs will provide financial and in-kind resources, capacity building activities, as well as advisory services to support your growth.

Who can apply?

The program is industry-agnostic and is open to both for-profit and impact startups that understand and can address the challenge.
A startup is a ‘business with high impact potential that uses innovation and/or addresses scalable markets’.

Why should I apply for CivVic Labs?

CivVic Labs offers you the opportunity to;

  • Develop an understanding of, and access to, Government procurement contracts
  • Receive funding, resources and mentorship to work alongside government to solve live public-sector challenges
  • Make an impact by working on these challenges that can make a real difference in the everyday lives of Victorians

What are the timelines?

Three shortlisted startups will commence in a 3-week Pre-Accelerator, in which each startup will receive $5,000 cash and in-kind support to further develop and co-design their concepts and ideas with the government challenge owners. The most promising startup will advance to the 3-4 month Accelerator, where the startup will receive additional funding of $30,000 cash and additional in-kind support. A contract will be awarded to the startup at the end of the program, subject to the delivery of an acceptable MVP.

How much time do I need to commit ?

We expect the startup to be present for most of the 3 week pre-accelerator and at least three-four days a week to participate in workshops and coaching sessions during the accelerator. The teams’ attendance at workshops are mandatory. For the duration of the program we also highly recommend that you run your startup from the Victorian Innovation Hub, when it is safe to do so. We understand that you will have meetings off-site or trips overseas, however we believe the cohort effect, resources and connections in our community will be incredibly valuable to the success of your business.

What are you looking for in an application?

An application needs to demonstrate a good understanding of the challenge and a solution that is innovative and has commercial potential. The solution need not be perfect but can be a work in progress. It also can be at a conceptual/ idea stage as long as it is a good fit for solving the challenge. We also look for a strong experienced team, with capabilities, skills, attitudes and synergy to carry out the work.

Can I apply for multiple challenges?

Yes. We encourage as many applications as you wish to put in, however consideration will be made on the capacity of the team to deliver.

Do I have access to the challenge owners before submission of the application?

Unfortunately not at this stage however, feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about the challenge or join us at one of our information sessions.

Does the startup team have to be an established organisation?

No, however to move on to the pre-accelerator, a startup will need to have a registered business and set up an office in Victoria.

Can I participate as a solo founder?

Yes however, we strongly advise that you put together a team to balance your skill set.

Does the program guarantee a contract at the end?

No, there is no guarantee of a contract awarded following the accelerator either by the program or the challenge owner. The expectation for teams is to close a contract if the challenge objectives are met and there is a positive working relationship between the startup and the government challenge owner.

Who decides which startup proceeds through each stage?

A selection panel which consists of the CivVic Labs team, challenge owner and other members with subject expertise as necessary, will review all applications, however, it is ultimately the challenge owner's decision on which startup is chosen to participate.

When will I hear back about the outcome of my application?

We understand that you will be very keen to hear back about the status of your application, and we will endeavour to process applications as soon as we can.

What are the obligations for participating?

You are expected to commit to the program and are required to abide to the Code of Conduct of CivVic Labs and the terms and conditions laid out by each government challenge owner. You are expected to execute on the work that is created with the challenge owner and deliver it in a timely manner.

Who owns the IP?

All IP rights created by the startup will be owned by the startup. Likewise, all IP rights created by the challenge owner during the course of the Program, can be either owned by the challenge owner or assigned to the startup upon creation. Both parties retain the background IP that they bring to the program. Both parties can renegotiate IP arrangements prior to the accelerator and prior to entering the Development contract at the end of the Program.

Are we required to co-locate with the challenge owners?

No, but you are highly encouraged to work from the Victorian Innovation Hub (when it is possible again). The challenge owners will be involved in parts of the program and will drop in at the Hub some of the time. If necessary, and invited to, you may co-locate with your challenge owner. The aim of the program is to encourage working together in building a solution.

Are we required to be based in Melbourne throughout the program?

Due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, we are making exceptions for startups to be based in Melbourne throughout the program. We will evaluate the conditions as the time comes, and will likely be running the program online and in person (only when it is permitted). The reason is because you will receive the greatest value from the program if you’re a part of our cohort and able to spend time with the challenge owners.

Is the Program only available to Australians?

No, however you will have to find a local representative (who can be in a 2-3 hour difference time zone to Melbourne) for the duration of the program and the startup will need to be registered as a Victorian business.

What resources will I get in the program?

For the duration of the program, you will have access to mentors, coaches and advisors, networks and hot desks in the Accelerator Space in the Victorian Innovation Hub at 710 Collins St, Docklands (when it is permitted).
While working at the Victorian Innovation Hub, you will have access to meeting room facilities, basic kitchen facilities, locker, showers, bicycle parking facilities and WiFi access.

What can I do with the $35k capital?

The capital is to support the development of the minimum viable product to help secure the Development contract.

Do I have to pay to participate?


Do I get paid to participate?

Not per se, but startups will receive some funding to assist in the development of the product.

Will you be taking equity in exchange for the funding provided?

LaunchVic will only take equity for the funding provided in the accelerator stage. The funding is given as part of a capped 'Simple Agreement for Future Equity' (SAFE). SAFEs are generally considered lightweight and startup friendly.

Are funding payments subject to GST?

Yes, if your business is registered for GST.

Will testing be able to be conducted on government owned infrastructure?

Possibly, depending on the challenge owner and the challenge.

Will government data be provided for testing?

Yes, however personal or sensitive data will not be provided for the purpose of testing. Where required de-identified data will be provided and you are expected to comply with privacy and confidentiality laws.

What happens if the problem is not solved within the timeframe?

The challenge owner may decide to continue working with the startup beyond the accelerator program to continue developing the product. It is however, at the discretion of the challenge owner and no further funds will be provided by CivVic Labs.

Are the challenge owners only looking for one solution to each challenge?

Yes, ultimately only one startup will implement a solution with the challenge owner. However, we encourage collaboration between startups; to either form a new joint venture or with one startup taking the lead, in providing a better joint solution to the challenge.

I have a product—can you put a Challenge out about it?

No, we work by sourcing the challenges and needs from the public sector.

I have identified a problem with a government organisation. Can you make them take it forward as a Challenge?

No, the program doesn't work that way. It's up to government organisations to identify their problems. However, if you think that there’s real benefit to be gained from solving the problem you’ve identified, reach out to the organisation and talk to them.

Can I book in a session to get some advice from someone at CivVic Labs?

Yes, please contact us at and we can arrange a time to do so. While we're unable to provide specific advice on the suitability of your product to the challenge, we can absolutely answer any questions on the application process and the program itself.