A NSW Government website

Accelerator in Residence – Operator

Eligible businesses were invited to express interest in operating a $975,000 accelerator program that builds local innovation and capability in technology and cyber. Applications have closed.

Our vision

The 2021 NSW Cyber Security Strategy outlines how the NSW Government will build cyber resiliency and support the growth and competitiveness of the NSW cyber industry.

About the Accelerator

The Accelerator in Residence Program, an initiative of the 2021 Cyber Security Strategy, aims to:

  • attract new cyber businesses to NSW, as well as help existing companies increase in scale
  • build local innovation and fast track growth from start-up to scaleup
  • create high value cyber jobs
  • attract investment to NSW cyber businesses above the industry average
  • facilitate export opportunities in global networks.


Grant available

The NSW Cyber Hub (a business unit of Investment NSW) is looking for a world-leading organisation with a proven track record of running cyber-specific accelerators.

The successful applicant will receive a $975,000 grant to operate the Accelerator over a 3-year period ending June 2024.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible, the applicant must:

  • have a minimum 2 years’ experience scaling and growing cyber security businesses with resources, networks and mentors that can be leveraged or demonstrated ability to do so
  • have a NSW based ABN or an intention to register such an ABN if application is successful
  • align with the 2021 NSW Cyber Security Strategy
  • satisfy relevant NSW Government and Australian Government policy and legislative requirements.

In the case of joint applications (for example, an application from an international-based organisation in partnership with an Australian organisation), the lead applicant must have a NSW based ABN (or intention to register one).

Refer to the expression of interest document for full evaluation criteria.

Information session


[Belinda Ernst]

My name is Belinda Ernest and I'm the director of cyber Security and skills and workforce development within Investment Partnerships which is part of Investment NSW.

I'd like to start our session today by acknowledging that I'm hosting this session from the lands of the Durrell people, but also like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the various lands on which you will work today and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands people participating in this online session. I'd like to pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging and celebrate the diversity of Aboriginal peoples and their ongoing cultures and connections to the lands and waters of New South Wales.

I would like to make a few introductions as we kick off, so obviously I've already sort of started with myself.

I would also like to introduce you to Teresa Pun. Teresa is the acting manager of the New South Wales Cyber Hub and she's joining our session today and she will assist me in answering any questions that you might have later on.

We're also joined today by Milton Kingsley, so Milton is our appointed independent probity advisor from Centium, and I will be sharing Milton contact details with you all at the end in case you have any probity concerns which you would like to raise with him.

And so this is the agenda for today. I'd like to kick off with a bit of an introduction to cybersecurity in New South Wales from a strategic perspective, and then I'd like to provide you with a bit of an overview of the accelerator in residence program and talk you through the outcomes that we're looking for a little bit about the expression of interest process will then stop for some questions and answers, and then I'll share our contact details with you should you have any further questions throughout this process that you would like addressed.

OK, so will kick off with a little bit of an introduction.

Many of you may already be aware that in May this year the New South Wales government released its 2021 New South Wales Cyber Security Strategy and so our objective here is for NSW to become a world leader in cyber security, protecting, growing and advancing our digital economy.

Now this strategy is a little bit different to what we've had in the past in New South Wales.

Under this new strategy, we have four strategic pillars. The first pillar is to increase NSW government resilience, and this is a piece that you know, obviously internally focused, and it's managed by Cyber Security NSW.

And so these are sort of the key piece. It's a little bit different in terms of how we've done things previously, and so what this new strategy does is it actually brings together both the government resiliency piece. So this first key pillar.

As well as the pillars that relate to industry development and support.

And so the other three pillars, pillars 2 to 4 are led by the New South Wales Cyber Hub, which was established under investment NSW. As part of this strategy.

To lead the delivery of those pillars, so the second pillar here help NSW businesses to grow.

This is the pillar. I've highlighted it for a reason. This is the pillar that the accelerator in residence program nests beneath.

There's also two other pillars here that are focused on industry development and so the first one, which is sorry. The third pillar is supporting innovation and R&D, and then the fourth pillar, which is focused on workforce, so enhancing the workforce and we've got a number of initiatives that fall under that one also.

If you haven't yet had a chance to go through that cyber security strategy, then I would. I would highly recommend that you take the time to read through the strategy and get a better sense of where the accelerator in residence fits into this overarching strategic piece. It is a key program of the cyber security strategy, and as I mentioned before, designed to support cyber businesses to grow.

I mentioned the New South Wales Cyber Hub as being established under the strategy and within Investment NSW.

The New South Wales Cyber Hub is managing this expression of interest process and the cyber hub sits within my team.

In terms of the grant process you will have probably noticed that we're going through a two stage process, so this first stage that we're currently in the EOI process is really designed to encourage interested parties to register their interest and demonstrate their suitability against the EOI requirements. We’ll then be shortlisting respondents. Those selected will then be invited to respond to a request for proposal, and there's a really specific reason we're going through this process, and that's because we're really keen to hear from industry and we want to hear.

From industry as to what you think will work best in terms of a delivery model for this accelerator in residence program we've seen lots of different ways of operating and so you know we want the best of the best and we want all of the great ideas through this EOI process.

In terms of the accelerator in residence program itself, I'd like to give you a little bit of an overview now of that.

The accelerator in residence program is really designed to build local innovation and scaling capability in technology and cyber.

And we've got a few key aims here, so the aims of the program is to scale and grow the number of cyber companies in NSW to create more high value cyber jobs.

To attract investment into these businesses and to facilitate export opportunities in global networks.

And we've got a fairly good sense in terms of an operator and what it is we are looking for.

So what is an ideal operator? it's an operator that's got a proven track record of running cyber specific accelerators.

We want to see those global networks that can be leveraged by the participants in the program for financing and investment for export pathways and for world class mentorship and guidance.

We do welcome applications from an Australian organisation or organizations in partnership with international organisations.

And what would like to see is a plan for the accelerator to become a leading Asia Pacific accelerator that will attract international startups and scaleups. So we want to see that vision there.

In terms of the outcomes that we're looking for.

The primary outcomes are measured by the success of those participating businesses, and so you can see you know how they're shaped here. Revenue generation, jobs created, client outcomes, including partnership and contract wins. Servicing and exporting to international markets, investment and fund raising.

In terms of the secondary outcomes.

We want to see international businesses that expand to New South Wales so that they can take part in this program. We want to see a measurable increase in connectivity of the cyber security ecosystem in New South Wales.

And a key factor here as well will be eligibility. So I'm just going to quickly go through the eligibility for those that may not have had a chance yet to review.

So you need to be well established with the minimum of two years’ experience. Scaling and growing cyber security businesses and so you'll need to have the resources, the networks and the mentors that can be leveraged or a demonstrated ability to do so. We need to have a New South Wales based ABN or intension to register such an ABN if you're successful.

And it's also worth pointing out at this point what happens in the case of a joint application, so you know if we have an application from an international based organisation, say in partnership with an Australian based organization, then the lead applicant must have a New South Wales based ABN or the intent to register one.

You also needs to demonstrate how you will target an attractive cohort. Participation from underrepresented individuals or businesses that are managed, managed by, under represented individuals. So here we're talking about groups, including women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Aboriginal people, and individuals with a disability or the neuro diverse.

You'll also need to align with our cyber security strategy objectives and satisfy relevant state and federal government policy and legislative requirements.

In terms of the evaluation criteria. You need to be able to demonstrate how the proposed model for the program will actually accelerate the growth of the participating companies, and we want to see the innovativeness of the proposal. And so that's something I touched on earlier in terms of that EOI process, and so this is an opportunity to demonstrate that with a focus on the services and delivery mode that you will use.

You need to also be able to demonstrate how the accelerator will connect to the widest cyber security industry and the ecosystem. Also need to demonstrate a depth of international networks and connections. And how they may be leveraged in the delivery of the services in the accelerator program and so here we're talking about things such as access to international financing, global best practices and leading innovations, as well as fostering new export opportunities. And you also need to be able to demonstrate the sustainability of the proposed operating model beyond NSW government funding.

And so we're talking about things such as financial, self sufficiency and revenue generation. In terms of the process itself, I'm just going to give you a little bit of a snapshot of the timeline, so obviously our EOI has now opened,  today is the 22nd and we're on our information session and so we're heading towards the EOI closing date which is the 21st of January. We're hoping to shortlist applicants in early February next year and release an RFP in early February with an aim to close off the RFP around mid February and again hopeful to sort of announce the successful applicant around the end of February.

And then we'll be looking towards approximately in April. Accelerator program opening date, but obviously that will need to be confirmed.

You know as we progress through things so these  dates are in indicative for you at the moment. And obviously as we progress through these different stages, we will be able to affirm those up a little more for you and we can share that as we progress through this process.

OK, I'm just going to drop out of that for a moment so I can actually see if anybody is asking a question so. Out now, like to sort of open up for some questions. Teresa and I will do our best to answer any questions you might have during this session. Those that we can't answer, we will take on notice and we will publish those those later if we need to. So I'd like to open up now if anybody has a question that they would like to ask.



Hi hi hi sorry it's it's Maryann here from Stone and Chalk. I'm just a quick one and I was a little bit late so you may have covered this already so apologies in advance. Do you have a set form for the expression of interest or is that part of us showing what we can do? It's sort of like a blank sheet of paper.

[Belinda Ernst]

Uh, sorry I'm hurrying.

So in terms of the response the application form has gone live today on the website, so you'll see exactly there what you'll need to complete. I suppose in a more general sense, in terms of you know the model and that type of thing, then that is open, and so we're not being prescriptive in that sense.


OK. OK. Now that's fine that makes sense. When I looked yesterday, there wasn't an application form.

[Belinda Ernst]

Yeah, it's opened up today and I'm sorry I should have mentioned that earlier, so thank you. That was a good reminder.


OK. No worries, thank you.

[Belinda Ernst]

Are there any other questions? I think I might see a hand up. Paul.


Hi Belinda yeah. Thanks for that presentation. That all just really basic question. Those slides will be up on the. Of the website 'cause you spoke to really quickly very crisply, I gotta say. My fingers are flying.

[Belinda Ernst]

Oh dear, I hope that wasn't too fast for everyone.


It wasn't, it's just says as much about my typing skills so but we know it's a really clear kind of presentation. Obviously you know all of us are about to head off the break, so galvanizing the right people to respond that time, but I think.

You know it, and I haven't looked at the form yet, but hopefully it's a fairly. There's still thing that we can respond to fairly quickly in the new year.

[Belinda Ernst]

Yeah, absolutely. So there's the sessions recorded and will be made available via the website and then any questions that we receive. We will, you know, respond and publish those also on the website as we go through this process so that it's available to everybody. Any last questions from anyone?


If I might just add one thing about the co investment requirements.

[Belinda Ernst]

So we haven't specified a requirement for Co investments. Of course, as part of your response. If you you know wish to detail any Co contribution in cash or clients, then obviously you're welcome to do so, but it's not a requirement.


Thank you.

[Teresa Pun]

I think Marianne has a question.


Yeah sorry. Meet again. No no, no no no that's OK. I just had a look at the website and I can't find the form.

[Belinda Ernst]

Oh sorry, sorry Marie Anne.


Do you know where it is?

[Teresa Pun]

So the form will be uploaded after the information session.


All right, OK, so it's not there right now.

[Belinda Ernst]

Apologies, sorry Mary Anne I thought it was at 9. My apologies.


Yeah, I mean is it possible to share it now so we can have a look at it very quickly and ask any questions while we can scan it?

[Belinda Ernst]

I don't think I can access it in a way that I can share it.

I think we might have to take questions on notice if you have a follow up question. Sorry. You're welcome to contact us if there's a question related to the form itself.


OK, no worries, thank you.

[Belinda Ernst]

Is there another question there?

[Teresa Pun]

Maybe a question from Yandamuri. Umm? Yandamuri.

[Belinda Ernst]

Yes please.

[Belinda Ernst]

You may be on mute.


Belinda I’ve got a question. Can you hear me Belinda.

[Belinda Ernst]

Yes, just it's quite faint. Yeah, I think I've got you now.


Yeah. Mark yeah, Belinda. So there's three milestones of years. One year, two, and year three, right? So what are you looking forward for? Any milestone definitions and targets each year? And is that given in the format specified? Is what I was thinking.

[Belinda Ernst]

Teresa have you got the timing. I don't believe that the milestones are specified in the form at this stage as part of the EOI. And I think that that would probably be something that would come at a later stage for those respondents that progress through to the RFP stage. Teresa, have I got that correct.

[Teresa Pun]

Yeah. Yeah, UM, we have not specified what the timing of the project that we are requiring we are relying on the respondents to show us what they're planning and what their thinking is.
And in your response it will be useful that you show up at timeline on when you think timings could be delivered and at what point in time, but it wasn't prescriptive from the UI.


Thank you, Teresa and Belinda.

[Belinda Ernst]

Mary, did you have another question?

I'm. No, I think my hand in come down. So sorry I don't know how to bring it down.

[Belinda Ernst]

No, not all good no no OK. That's OK, I get stuck on that one too.


OK, thank you.

[Belinda Ernst]

Any other questions?.

OK, if there's no other questions all.

Go back up onto the big screen for everyone. Pull up our contact details.

Like me see,  if you have any specific questions around the accelerator in residence program EOI you can contact Kate Farr. And the contact email address is there for you accelerator in residence at investment.nsw.gov dot AU.

And I mentioned earlier that I would also share our independent probity advisers contact details. So if you need to reach out to Milton. His email is [email protected] dot AU and again this will all be available to you on the website so you don't have to take a note just now.

And I also just wanted to draw your attention to the fact that investment NSW will be closing from the 25th of December to the 9th of January. So we’ll be responding to questions after the holiday shutdown period, and so we'll in issuing an addendum on the website in the week commencing Monday the 10th of January.


Well, that actually concludes our session then today, and I'd like to thank you all so much for joining us this morning. Thank you for your interest in the EOI.

And I know that it's very close to Christmas as well. So thank you for joining the very end of the year and I hope you all have a safe and very happy break over the Christmas period. Thanks so much.


Thanks Belinda.

[Belinda Ernst]

Thank you bye bye.


Thank you Belinda.

[Belinda Ernst]

Thank you.


Bye bye.

How to apply

Applications have closed. 

Key dates

Expressions of interest opened on 22 December 2021.

Expressions of interest closed at 12:00 pm (midday) AEDT on 4 February 2022. 

You can expect to hear the outcome of your expression of interest by mid February 2022.

Selected applicants will be invited to submit a request for proposal by 5:00 pm AEDT on 27 March 2022*. 

The successful applicant is expected to be announced by April 2022.

*Note this is an indicative timeframe only. 

Contact us

If you have any questions regarding this Accelerator, please contact Investment NSW.