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 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 State Library Victoria’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 program 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

Find out more about Foundry658 and register your interest.

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