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New Program to kickstart creative startups

Media release

This is an archived media release. Links were correct at the time of publication, but may have changed or expired.

Thursday 07 June 2018

Victorian creativity and business nous are set to combine with the announcement of Foundry658, a new Victorian Government business development program aimed to kickstart the next generation of creative and cultural businesses.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley today announced Foundry658, an Australian first accelerator program that will help emerging creative entrepreneurs, organisations and collectives turn their creative ideas into successful businesses.

An initiative of the Victorian Government’s Creative State strategy, Foundry658 will provide free business development expertise and advice that will help creatives working across all fields - including arts and culture, film and television, media, publishing, fashion, digital games and design - get their business ideas off the ground.

Led by State Library Victoria (SLV) and Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), the program will take the techniques of the technology sector - where incubators, labs and accelerator programs help to foster new business ideas - and apply them to the creative industries.

The program will comprise an annual regional roadshow, boot camps to support up to 50 creative entrepreneurs and artists to develop their business idea and an intensive three-month Accelerator program that will support 10 high potential creative start-ups to turn their ideas into sustainable businesses.

Accelerator teams will each receive $20,000 in seed funding and mentoring support from leading creative entrepreneurs.

Participants in the program will be guided on how to develop a successful business plan and strategy, refine their pitch, approach potential investors, and test or demonstrate their idea or product with future customers.

Foundry658 will strengthen SLV's commitment to business development. The Library’s $88.1 million transformation includes the opening of StartSpace, a new hub to support budding entrepreneurs and small business owners from all sectors.

ACMI has developed a reputation for connecting businesses of all sizes with creative tech industry leaders and cutting-edge startup methodologies. ACMI’s multi-disciplinary co-working space ACMI X hosts ACMI Xcel: Creative Tech Accelerator, the first accelerator of its kind designed by an Australian museum.

The Foundry658 will combine the expertise of these two leading Victorian cultural institutions in a new program that is tailored to the creative industries.

Eligible creative ideas don’t need a technology component, just an idea that has the power to supercharge individual creative practice, build a sustainable income stream or transform the creative sector more broadly.

The program will commence in July 2018 but ambitious artists, practitioners and creative businesses can get a taste of what will be on offer at the 2018 Creative State Summit.

The Summit’s Creative Entrepreneurship stream will feature a series of talks and workshops that will focus on ways creatives can build a business, scale their ideas or attract support and venture capital.

Kicking off with a Q and A about the Foundry658 program, the Creative Entrepreneurship sessions will also feature entrepreneurs behind leading Australian creative businesses including online art sales platform BlueThumb, ecommerce website Bookish and Indigital, a start-up that uses new and emerging technologies such as augmented reality, to bring ancient Indigenous stories to life.

The 2018 Creative State Summit will take place from 14-15 June 2018 at Melbourne Museum, the Creative Enterprise stream will take place on Friday 15 June. For full program and ticket details, visit

For more information about the Foundry658 including roadshow and application dates, visit State Library Victoria's wesbite.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley

“When we were developing the Creative State strategy, access to tailored business development advice and support was identified as a top priority for Victorian creatives.”

“Whether you have an idea that needs shaping, a prototype in the test phase or a business that is ready to reach a new level, the Foundry658 is for you.”

“Ambitious artists and creatives are highly skilled in creative domains but need help to establish and grow successful businesses. I look forward to the many creative ideas that will flourish through Foundry658.”

Quote attributable to Kate Torney, CEO State Library Victoria

“State Library Victoria has always been about inspiring possibilities. Foundry658 takes this to a new level and reflects the changing needs of our community.”

Quote attributable to Katrina Sedgwick, Director and CEO, Australian Centre for the Moving Image

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to join forces with State Library of Victoria to deliver a state-wide accelerator program specifically for the creative industries. Located in our dynamic ACMI X co-working space, Foundry658 continues the groundbreaking work ACMI has been doing in the startup sector and will challenge creative entrepreneurs of all kinds to realise their potential.”