The COVID-19 Industry Response Program

Has your business been impacted by COVID-19?

The COVID-19 Industry Response Program is a comprehensive, 12-week online program designed to help businesses adapt and innovate in the face of unprecedented change. This program is delivered by La Trobe Innovation and Entrepreneurship and in partnership with Investible.

Small businesses are facing incredible challenges in the wake of COVID-19. This program is designed to give business owners the mindset, resources and community they need to adapt and innovate in the face of unprecedented change -all at no cost to businesses.

This free program is delivered 100% online over 12 weeks, the COVID-19 Industry Response Program supports established retailers, manufacturers and small to medium businesses across all major industries, with real-time workshops, expert mentoring and online learning.

The COVID-19 Industry Response Program focuses on the topics and challenges at the forefront of business owners’ minds, with the support of subject-matter experts, technology partners and mentors.

What does the program offer business owners?

  • Master the tools you need to grow
    Learn what you need to move forward into a new digital age with confidence and supercharge your sales, marketing, and communication strategies.
  • Flexible remote learning
    Participate from anywhere with virtual expert workshops, personalised mentoring and online learning modules developed by the business development experts at Investible.
  • An active support community
    Join an exclusive community of like-minded businessowners who are facing similar challenges and harness the power of the ‘network effect’.

Applications

Applications are now open for businesses across Victoria and close Friday 5 June, 5pm.

Apply now

Key Dates

  • Applications open Monday 27 April
  • Applications close Friday 5 June
  • Applicants notified by Sunday 7 June
  • Onboarding of program commences Monday 8 June
  • Week 1 of program commences Sunday 15 June

For further information please get in contact here:

E: accelerator@latrobe.edu.au

Testimonials and Case Studies

Brooklyn Boy Bagels

Artisan producer of authentic New York bagels
Seven years in business

Voted as ‘The Best Bagel In Australia’ by Vogue, Brooklyn Boy Bagels knows what it takes to succeed. For seven years, owner Michael Shafran has served up artisan bagels using the same techniques that have made New York City the bagel capital of the world.

With COVID-19 closures threatening his brick-and-mortar business, Michael pivoted quickly, using what he learned during the program to adapt his business model. Instead of focusing on traditional cafes, Michael decided to explore larger opportunities with supermarkets, airlines, hotels and large bakeries.

Using the new connections he developed in the program, Michael was referred to trusted shipping companies and online platforms to support his new direction. Plus, he was able to test his new business model with the group. The program’s digital marketing workshops have also helped Brooklyn Boy Bagels improve its SEO and online marketing strategies.

"The most amazing part of the program is the network of like-minded entrepreneurs who are facing similar challenges, both professionally and personally. It is invaluable..."

“There's been so much sharing among the participants, I've been able to find out about new government initiatives quickly (and call my accountant less), get great tips on how to manage my online store, look into new markets and source packaging supplies.”

Michael Shafran
Founder of Brooklyn Boy Bagel

Nutie

Gluten-free donuts and vegan sweets
Two years in business

On any normal weekend, you would see faces glued to the windows of Nutie's vegan dessert shops. In just two years, self-taught baker Sina Klug and her business partner Jacques Dumont have grown Nutie to two locations and built a social media following of more than 45,000 foodie fans.

With the threat of COVID-19 keeping customers indoors, Sina and Jacques knew they would need to pivot their business. They quickly set up a new online platform to facilitate takeaway orders and leveraged Instagram to keep customers engaged.

With the support of other program participants, Nutie has also been able to test new products and forming partnerships to offer joint product offerings to drive growth.

Courtesy of the Artist

Contemporary original jewellery from more than 80 artists around the world
18 years in business

For nearly two decades, Courtesy of the Artist has promoted innovative jewellery that combines new technology with traditional craftsmanship. Now, Directors Nina Cueva and Cesar Cueva exhibit a dynamic collection of contemporary jewellery across three galleries.

When COVID-19 forced them to temporarily close their gallery spaces, Nina and Cesar knew they would need to adapt. As alumni of the Retail Innovation Program, they had a firm understanding of how to assess and refine their business model and validate which parts of the businesses would need more time and resources.

In spite of the challenges, Nina and Cesar have been able to continue driving sales by running a curated content marketing campaign via their social media channels. With the ability to assess what is and isn’t working, they can also reinvest to improve their ROI.

"This program has been invaluable. Being able to work with Investible on breaking down each facet of the business and understanding what we can and can’t scale has been so important."

“We have three shops in the Strand Arcade and this program has really helped us understand what we need to focus on and to future proof our business.”

Nina Cueva
Founder of Courtesy of the Artist

FAQs

Who is the program for?

The COVID-19 Industry Response Program is designed to support a wide variety of small to medium businesses across Victoria.  Business owners from all major industries and sectors are encouraged to apply, including food & beverage, hospitality, fashion, beauty, home goods, furniture, manufacturing and more.

Participants in previous programs have been in business between two and 20+ years.

Why now?

In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 has changed the world. With travel restrictions and social distancing measures in place, many business owners and manufacturers feel uncertain about the future.

To succeed, businesses must adapt and innovate. The COVID-19 Industry Response Program is uniquely designed to help business leaders develop the mindset, resources and community they need to adapt and innovate in the face of unprecedented change.

What topics will be covered?

  • Founders Introduction
  • Market Opportunities
  • The Customer
  • The Execution
  • The Financials
  • The Future
  • Traction
  • Graduation

Who is Investible?

Investible is a leading early-stage investor and one of Australia’s most active Venture Capital firms at seed stage.

Investible is the first investment firm in Australia to bring early-stage investment together with proven entrepreneurial development programs under one roof.

Its comprehensive suite of unique business-building and pre-investment programs that continue to support business across Australia and Southeast Asia.

Who is La Trobe Innovation and Entrepreneurship (previously known as LTAP)?

Innovation and Entrepreneurship is a key focus within La Trobe University's Industry and Engagement strategy. Within our range of programs, we have supported over 111 start-ups over the past three years.

La Trobe University is looking to help equip small to medium businesses pivot and accelerate through COVID-19 in addition to delivering programs to inspire entrepreneurial mindsets within our staff, students and academics.