Global Markets Accelerator

Global Markets Accelerator Program: How we are stopping the ‘innovation drain’ and taking Australian startups to the world.

Partnership at a glance

  • We are working with the Australian Government to create an incubator that will help founders break into global markets.
  • The Global Markets Accelerator Program (GMAP) starts with a two-month intensive to select candidates and assess market readiness before founders expand into their target territory.
  • From 40 applicants in 2021, 14 were selected to progress to a six-month intensive accelerator, to help them scale and execute their expansion.
  • GMAP founders are supported by mentors – highly credentialled professionals with the skills, experience and, importantly, a wealth of contacts to help realise their business dreams.
  • The program is focused on inclusion and diversity and is proud to support women founders who are disadvantaged in the economy.
  • GMAP has already created impact, with businesses cracking their target markets and forging valuable new partnerships.

Case Study

Australians are great innovators, but startups often face huge challenges when it’s time to take their exciting new businesses to the world.

That’s the view of Lisa Short, Adjunct Professor for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Digital Technology with La Trobe’s GMAP program and also an experienced founder. And it’s that fundamental problem, along with a passion to drive Australian startup success, that fires her enthusiasm for La Trobe’s Global Markets Accelerator Program (GMAP).

“We use the term ‘brain drain’ in Australia, but we also have an ‘innovation drain’,” says Short, GMAP’s lead mentor. “A lot of innovation developed in Australia either leaves or gets sold off overseas and never actually grows the economy from within the Australian market. That was a gap that La Trobe identified as an opportunity to lead.”

La Trobe has partnered with AusIndustry, the Australian Government’s specialist business program, to create GMAP. The aim is to stem the ‘innovation drain’ and support local entrepreneurs to crack markets such as Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Europe and the UK.

GMAP is about supporting those businesses during their early stage, to get them to the point that they are able to enter and expand into the international market. What’s unique is it utilises the international diaspora of exceptional Australian business talent who are drawn to support Australia. There’s no other program like it in Australia.

Lisa Short

More than 40 entrepreneurs applied for GMAP’s inaugural accelerator in 2021, vying for just 14 highly sought-after places. The program requires significant commitment, giving participants access to La Trobe’s world-class mentors one-on-one for a six-month program. Phase one was a two-month intensive feasibility study to ensure businesses were suitable for expansion. Not all were deemed ready for the incubator in the first instance but, with support from the mentors, several of those promising businesses made the second cut.

“Other businesses still weren’t ready for global market acceleration, but they were extraordinary businesses, so we have continued to work with them; three have subsequently gone into GMAP and one of those has just partnered with Lego internationally,” says Short.

“Most businesses in the ‘not quite ready’ category were women-led enterprises and we recognise that they are disadvantaged in the Australian market. And of course, with a little support, they have smashed out every outcome. I think that demonstrates La Trobe’s focus on agility and inclusivity.”

As part of GMAP, founders from a range of fields including education, agtech and digital technology spend regular time with mentors including Short. This provides opportunities to pick the mentors’ brains, attend their workshops and to be invited to engage with their extensive international relationships, learning in detail how to scale up to crack their target market.

GMAP has been funded to support a new batch of entrepreneurs in 2022, and its success cements La Trobe’s international reputation and encourages innovative new programs for entrepreneurs. Short predicts program alumni, many of whom are women, may well go on to become the next Australian unicorns (privately-owned startups valued at over $1 billion).

“There’s a big world out there for startups. The incredible experience of GMAP mentors creates trust and confidence for startups, and so does the credibility of La Trobe. The trust that we have opens doors that it could take 20 or 30 years to get to otherwise. That’s the richness of this program.”

To find out more on our partnerships, please contact us.