Activator leverages global and digital strength to support start-ups

Activator leverages global and digital strength to support start-ups

RMIT Activator is bringing its digital and global credentials to the fore in 2020, running simultaneous online LaunchHub programs for start-ups in both Melbourne and Vietnam.

It is the first time an Australian university accelerator program has been delivered simultaneously across international campus locations and reflects the global bench strength of RMIT Activator.

“It’s one of the many benefits we can offer through RMT as a global university of design, technology and enterprise,” said Karen Rieschiek, Manager of RMIT Activator Vietnam.

“Not only does RMIT Activator have dedicated local support teams and programs for startups in the Asia Pacific region, we also provide aspiring entrepreneurs with access to experienced entrepreneurial coaches from across France, Singapore, Vietnam and Australia,” she said.

The new LaunchHub cohort, the largest to date for RMIT Activator, is set to explore a diverse field of opportunities across social innovation, FinTech, health tech, agriculture and business-to-business offerings, with community-based problem solving a clear focus in Vietnam especially.

“We’ve attracted a group of participants with a clear social conscience and expect this will translate into a really strong startup community and some amazing program outcomes,” Rieschiek said.

Building with RMIT logo RMIT Vietnam Campus

In response to current global conditions, the LaunchHub program has moved to a purely digital delivery and support model.

“Shifting to online delivery was relatively simple from a technology perspective; the challenge was ensuring we continued to deliver all the benefits of our high-touch, human-centric coaching style,” said Dan Sleeman, RMIT Activator’s Head of Product and Education.

“Our experiential learning approach and incredible startup community is our ‘special sauce’ and I’ve been so proud of how the team has been able to retain these ingredients and keep everyone tightly connected through our new digital offering,” Sleeman said.

New features in the latest LaunchHUB program include:

  • Open Forum – fortnightly Q&A sessions featuring special guests and startup founders
  • Buddy system – current participants are paired with LaunchHUB alumni to share ideas and receive informal mentoring and extra support on their entrepreneurial journey
  • Digital Startup Journey Platform – founders can access key content and complete challenges that will set them up for a successful funding pitch (topics include market opportunity analysis, customer discovery, value proposition design, lean resourcing and more)
  • A dedicated founder wellbeing workshop to help support mental health and wellbeing.

This year, Ian Wong, Vice-President at Circular Economy Victoria joins current coaches Darren Sutton, The Common Purpose Collective and James Lolicato, Pride Cup Australia, in the Melbourne program.

“Like many in our community, the Activator team is continuing to grow and evolve in response to the changing world around us,” Sleeman said.

“We’re practicing what we preach by experimenting, adapting and iterating; bringing new ideas and improvements to our community and sharing important lessons along the way.” 


Story: Jing Lee and Jacqui Flint


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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.