Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Breakout Accelerator? What is it aiming to do?

The Breakout Accelerator is a program for people with innovative business ideas, international ambition and a commitment to the future of rural and regional Australia.

Through the Breakout Accelerator, a new generation of businesses from rural and regional Victoria and southern New South Wales will be mentored by and connected with national and global networks to drive their ideas forward whilst staying in the communities they love.

The concept was co-developed by the Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship (ACRE) and SecondMuse, a global leader in innovation. The partners will work together to identify and bring national and international networks, experience and expertise to the doorstep of rural and regional innovators who join the Breakout Accelerator.

Innovators who are selected for the program can build new connections, access know-how, and receive guidance and support to grow new business opportunities. A key focus is assisting existing businesses and start-ups to develop the capabilities required to achieve commercial success in international markets.

What is the cost of taking part in the program?

Thanks to the financial support of the Australian Government and in-kind contributions by ACRE and SecondMuse, there is no cost to join the program.

Is there prize money or grant funding attached to the program?

There is currently no direct funding associated with the program, but we will cover costs associated with participating.

Are you eligible?

We are looking to support and connect businesses with innovative ideas, a commitment to the future of rural and regional Australia, and a drive to grow and scale, including international ambition. Specifically the Breakout Accelerator will be a great fit for you if you:

  • Live in rural/regional Victoria or southern New South Wales
  • Are the founder or CEO of the business
  • Have a clear business concept or are ready to expand an existing business
  • Are willing to commit time and energy to the Breakout Accelerator program from November 2019 – June 2020

How is the program being funded?

The Breakout Accelerator is funded through the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme – a $23 million Incubator Support initiative that connects entrepreneurs with top-quality research, business advice and talent to help them realise their economic potential earlier. The initiative assists Australian start-ups to develop the capabilities required to achieve commercial success in international markets and realise their economic potential faster than they otherwise would, and develop Australia’s innovation ecosystem, including in Australian regions.

When does the program start? How long does it run for?

The Breakout Accelerator begins in November 2019 and continues until June 2020.

What does the program involve?

Selected applicants will participate in a sequence of in-person events, online workshops, mentoring and market access opportunities.

Key components include:

  • An immersive Forum from 24-29 November 2019 based in a new co-working space at The Old Beechworth Gaol, located in regional Victoria. During the Forum experienced mentors, advisers and investors will work side-by-side with each business owner/founder to plan next steps in business growth.
  • A tailored, six-month program to help each innovator tackle their business challenges and connect with growth opportunities via a domestic and international network.
  • An international outward-bound experience in mid 2020 for two businesses to further accelerate their connections, access and test international markets.

What’s an accelerator?

Accelerators are time-limited programs that work with ‘cohorts’ or ‘classes’ of enterprises to provide mentorship and training, with a special emphasis on connecting early stage enterprises with expertise and investment.


When do applications for the Breakout Accelerator open and close?

Applications for the Breakout Accelerator open on 16 August 2019 and close on 27 September 2019. No applications will be accepted after the deadline.

How do I apply for the Breakout Accelerator?

You can apply online via the Breakout Accelerator website:

Simply follow these steps:

  • Register your contact details. You will receive a confirmation email with a link to an online application
  • Complete all questions in the online application form and submit your application.

TIP: You can save a draft of your online application, so you can review your answers before final submission.

Who will see the details of my application?

As a condition of your application, you and the Breakout Accelerator will both sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Applications are reviewed by an assessment panel with expertise in business, coaching and start-up development. The information on your application remains absolutely confidential and is restricted to the selection panel.

What business structures can participate in the program?

The Breakout Accelerator welcomes applications from sole traders, partnerships, family trusts, companies and incorporated for-purpose businesses, including social enterprises.

What happens after I submit an application?

You will receive a confirmation message acknowledging the receipt of your application. We may be in touch to request additional information.

What happens if I am shortlisted?

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview with the Breakout Accelerator team and a selection of industry-specific mentors. This will take place at the Breakout Accelerator co-working space or via a videoconference. We strongly encourage all founders/owners from the business to be present for this stage.


How many innovators will be selected to participate in the program?

We expect the cohort to consist of up to 10 business innovators.

What “stage” of business is a good fit for this program? Am I too early? Am I too late?

To maximise connections and the benefit of the Breakout Accelerator program, we are looking for applications from innovative people at various stages of business, ranging from:

  • Idea: you have identified a problem/opportunity you want to address, and have begun to define a concept to address that
  • Proof of concept: you have begun initial tests, and verified the approach
  • Prototype: you are refining and developing an approach based on initial testing
  • Pilot: you are working toward testing your concept in the market
  • Product development: you are redeveloping the concept
  • Growth: you are established and focusing on growth

What’s the selection criteria for the Breakout Accelerator?

The Breakout Accelerator assessment panel will review and rate applications on the basis of these five criteria:

  1. Commitment to rural/regional Australia
  2. Technical feasibility and viability of enterprise or concept
  3. Pathway to scale
  4. Strength of project team and leadership
  5. Potential for social, economic, or environmental impact in rural /regional Australia

I live outside of rural and regional Victoria and southern New South Wales. Can I still apply?

At this time, we are only accepting applications from innovators based in these locations.

What do you mean by Southern New South Wales?

For the purposes of the Breakout Accelerator, Southern New South Wales includes these communities and districts; South Coast, Southern Tablelands, Snowy Mountains, South West Slopes and Riverina. Please contact us if you have questions.


What does the Breakout Accelerator program include?

The program includes workshops with expert mentors and advisers, coaching to encourage problem-solving and business planning sessions, and introductions to industry, potential partners, investors, and customers.

If selected for the program, how many members of my team need to participate in the Breakout Accelerator?

The Founder/CEO of the business or business concept must be prepared to participate fully in the Breakout Accelerator program, including all required preparation sessions at the Forum in November 2019, as well as a six-month ongoing coaching and mentoring program that runs until June 2020. These are intensive events that require genuine commitment and active participation in order for you to make the most of these opportunities. Other members of your team are encouraged to engage with the Breakout Accelerator at various points throughout the program, however, you as the Founder/CEO will be the person responsible for all program commitments.

Where is the Breakout Accelerator located?

The Breakout Accelerator program office and initial Forum (November 2019) will take place in a dedicated co-working space located within The Old Beechworth Gaol, Beechworth in North East Victoria. The headquarters of the Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship (ACRE) is also located within the Old Beechworth Gaol. The ongoing coaching and mentoring program for the Breakout Accelerator will be delivered via mixed mode – with digital opportunities and face-to-face meet ups.

What will be the terms of participation / the expectations?

Essentially, this is a competition. The prize is program that will accelerate opportunities for your business. Through it you can build new connections, learn from the best, access facilities to bring your ideas to life and receive guidance and support to grow. We expect selected participants to attend Breakout Accelerator meetings, join calls, and provide feedback to support monitoring, evaluation and learning efforts. Beyond this, expectations around your participation will vary, as the program may look different for each participant. If you are selected, your support will be designed with you, to meet your needs and reflect your constraints. Please email us at if you have additional questions.

If selected, do I need to relocate to Beechworth for the Accelerator?

The short answer: No. Relocation on a fulltime basis is not required but attendance at the initial Forum from 24-29 November is essential.

I/we might not be eligible for this program, are there other ways we can receive support?

Our program seeks to share / open-source the training materials and we will work with our partners to localise these resources where possible, in order to benefit a greater cohort of incubators and accelerators in the region. To be notified of these updates, we still encourage you to apply to the program so that we can better understand your needs as an incubator/accelerator, design and collate appropriate support materials and follow up with you as they are developed.


Can I speak to someone directly about the program and/or application process?

If you have additional questions or are having technical difficulties submitting your application, please send an email to and we’ll get in touch.

Interested in applying?

The 2019/2020 Breakout Accelerator invites applications from people living in rural Victoria and southern NSW who are starting up, growing or diversifying a business.

Online applications are open from 16 August – 27 September 2019


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