Sunday, March 4th, 2012
ANZ and Innovyz have signed an agreement to launch the ANZ Innovyz START Program aimed at fostering innovation, and helping entrepreneurs start and grow companies in Australia.

ANZ Innovyz START is a three month accelerator program modeled after the highly successful TechStars program in the United States. TechStars is rated as the world’s #1 accelerator program.

Many companies apply, but only 10 are accepted, depending on the breakthrough nature of their innovations and the quality of their founding teams. ANZ Innovyz START is one of 40 accelerators in the Global Accelerator Network founded by TechStars.

The first program will begin on May 28, 2012 and will require 10 selected companies to reside in Adelaide for the intensive three month program.

The program includes mentoring by successful entrepreneurs, learning programs focused on growing a company, identifying target markets, working and reworking the company’s plan, and a presentation to potential investors on the final day of the program.

The ANZ Innovyz START Program has attracted Dr Jana Matthews as Program Director.

Dr Matthews is the founding CEO of The Jana Matthews Group, based in Boulder, Colorado and an international expert on entrepreneurial leadership and business growth.

Named “One of 18 women business gurus in the world” by Pink Magazine, Dr Matthews also has a doctorate in management and planning from Harvard University.

Dr Matthews has seen firsthand the power of the accelerator programs in the US and believes Australia will benefit significantly from developing a culture of mentors and peer-to-peer networks.

“Entrepreneurs learn best from other entrepreneurs who have ‘been there and done that’. Peers can often spot problems in someone else’s company before they see it in their own. By learning from each other’s mistakes, they grow smarter, faster,” she says.

As a key partner in the program ANZ General Manager for Small Business, Nick Reade says the program is a perfect fit with ANZ’s commitment to encouraging and fostering more entrepreneurship and innovation in Australia.

“Our support for this program forms part of ANZ’s commitment to the Australian small business sector. We’re also a strong supporter of the start up segment, having an approval rate of around 80 per cent for ANZ start up loan applications.”

“The Australian small business sector contributes almost half of Australia’s private sector jobs, and while many are very successful, there are some which are having a tough time at present, and the sector continues to need investment and support.”

“This program is about fostering growth and innovation in small business, and accelerating the development of start-up companies who really need that initial leg-up to get going.”

“Whether you’re a new small business, or just someone with a great innovative idea, it’s about having the right support, mentoring and skills to get off the ground. The ANZ Innovyz START program is all about creating a launch pad for these people by giving them the expertise and funding to grow and commercialise their business,” Mr Reade said.

David Cohen, founder and CEO of TechStars in Boulder, Colorado – the program on which ANZ Innovyz START is modelled – says he’s excited to see the mentorship- driven accelerator model expanding into the Southern Hemisphere.

“We established TechStars with a vision of promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in the US through a focus on mentor-driven, peer-to-peer learning and the results speak for themselves. I am hopeful that ANZ Innovyz Start can replicate our results in Australia,” he says.

The ANZ Innovyz Start program’s success is based on company founders having ready access to a range of influential and experienced mentors and advisors. The new Australian program has already attracted a stellar pool of mentors with a broad range of experience from overseas and nationally. These mentors have committed to visit Adelaide to mentor the participants during the program, as well as staying in regular communication with them.

Two of the founding sponsors of the program are the Adelaide City Council and ITEK, the commercialisation arm of UniSA.

Adelaide Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood has welcomed the program as an important initiative for the City and South Australia.

“Adelaide’s attributes and infrastructure position it as a key innovation hub and as a Council, we are committed to supporting innovation and business growth,” he said.

ITEK Chief Executive Stephen Rodda says, “the program hails a critically important step forward for supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in Australia.”

“At ITEK our focus has always been on driving the successful commercialization of advanced innovations. It is our pleasure to be Founding Sponsors of this world leading program and to help foster a more vibrant and thriving innovation community,” he said.

“This is an incredible opportunity for innovators to tap into some of the best entrepreneurial minds in the business,” says Dr Matthews.

“I think we’ll see some extraordinary business success stories nurtured through the program and I’m looking forward to working with a new breed of innovators and entrepreneurs.”


To apply, go to


Dr. Matthews was recruited to the original senior team of the Kauffman Foundation’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Dr. Matthews was the architect of highly successful programs designed to teach CEOs and their executive teams to lead and manage growth. She is the author of seven books, including Lessons from the Edge and Leading at the Speed of Growth. She has worked with CEOs of growth companies in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and other countries in Asia Pacific, and was a Global Thought Leader for SAP.

For further details and interview opportunities please contact:

ANZ Innovyz Start Program Director, Dr Jana Matthews - [email protected]

Innovyz Chairman – Philip Vafiadis – [email protected]

ANZ General Manager for Small Business - Nick Reade

Contact: Emily Kinnear, Media Relations Advisor

Tel: 03 8654 3540 or 0478 401 280 - [email protected]

Contact Profile

Leigh McClusky

P: 08 8372 3000


TechStars, United States, top accelerator program, entrepreneur, incubator



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