About ygap’s First Gens program

Here in Australia, migrants and refugees often face increased challenges when starting a business, participating in the community and searching for employment.

ygap’s First Gens program supports migrant and refugee led social impact ventures that are improving the lives of people living in disadvantage in Australia.

Predominantly funded by LaunchVic, ygap will be offering multiple intakes into its internationally acclaimed and proven program. Each First Gens program will consist of a five-day live-in accelerator followed by three months of tailored support. The best part – the program is completely free. We exist simply to support and grow early-stage social impact ventures.

The Program

ACCELERATE: A five-day intensive entrepreneurship program designed to fast track your early-stage venture. We will provide training, mentorship and a community of inspiring, like-minded entrepreneurs who are all working towards creating a better Australia for migrants and refugees.

SUPPORT: Following the accelerator, we provide three months of creative support, strategy sessions, monthly meetups, business mentorship, legal and accounting help and access to small grants of up to $1000. At the end of the support phase a Pitch Event is held, giving each of the entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch to impact investors, philanthropists, entrepreneurs and industry leaders.

GROW: The top entrepreneurs from each cohort will move into the growth phase where they will have access to an increased support package in addition to up to $25,000 of growth capital.


Who we are looking for:

Early Stage: Ventures that have launched or have run a pilot and shown some early traction or proof of concept. We typically look for ventures that have less than 100 customers and have been in operation less than two years.

Migrant or Refugee Led: There must be at least one migrant or refugee co-founder who will participate in the program.

Engaged: The founder intimately understands the problem that they are trying to solve.

Supports Those Living in Disadvantage: The venture must be improving the lives of people who are experiencing disadvantage in Australia. This can be through a process enterprise (a venture creates change as it does its work) or a profit enterprise (a venture that sells something and directs that funding to social change).

Applications for the November Accelerator open August 1st, 2018

Case Studies

“The ygap Accelerator is a completely transformational program. It will accelerate the growth of your venture, your development as a leader, and amplify the impact and ultimate goals you have for your project. I started with a basic idea and a hope that I could help others. Following the program, I now have a clear vision of what I need to do, and a strategy on how to bring about the change to want to see. I couldn’t recommend the program highly enough!”

–Lyndon Galea, Eat Up

“The ygap Accelerator connected me with so many incredible people who are also doing their bit to change the world. It made me feel less alone in the struggles and connected me to a community of people with shared wisdom and experiences I could learn from.”

–Saskia Hampele, Gift Box

“The ygap Accelerator was just what we needed to take it to the next level. I was challenged, confronted, moved and inspired throughout the process and it ultimately allowed me to develop hugely as a leader. If you do one thing for your social enterprise, make it this. You won’t spend much time writing boring business projections, but you will meet with some of the best entrepreneurs in the country and kick start your venture.”

–Dan Poole, Crepes for Change


Have a question? Check out our FAQs first to see if we’ve answered it. If not, get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to answer any question you have.

A migrant is any person who is not born in Australia, while a refugee is a displaced person who has been forced to cross national boundaries and who cannot return home safely.

The program is completely free, including room and board while participating in the five day live-in accelerator program. Your only expenses will be getting to and from the venues.

The Accelerator and Demo Day will both be held in Melbourne, and attendance is mandatory. The Support phase will also be delivered in Melbourne, although in some cases this can be delivered remotely.

English is the language that the firstgens program is delivered in. We recommend an intermediate level of English proficiency. However, do not let your confidence in English deter you from applying. If you have a fantastic venture, but your English is lacking we have a number of brilliant partners that can help increase your proficiency in English and we can accept you into the program at a later intake.

We are still open to ventures that support a demographic other than migrants and refugees, as long as it has a specific program that focuses solely on migrants and refugees. We want to see that your organisation has a clear mandate or mission to uplift migrants and refugees in some way.

Yes. While the main focus of the ygap firstgens program is to support migrant and refugee led ventures, we do have limited spots available for ventures that are not migrant or refugee led but are significantly impacting the migrant and refugee community.

Unfortunately, we can only accommodate one founder per venture for the Accelerator week. You’ll need to decide which of you is best to attend.

No, it is not as a requirement of the program.

Unfortunately, no. We are looking for ventures (they can be non-profit, social enterprise or for-profit) with a clear social impact that is core to your business model, not just an accidental by-product. We generally want to see evidence of this in the way you have structured your venture or your communications (website/social media etc.). It must be evident there is a clear value and priority placed on the social impact the venture generates. (An example could be: deliberate employment of marginalised/disadvantaged refugees or migrants)

More questions? Get in touch with Simon Lee, ygap’s Australian Program Manager at simon.lee@ygap.orgm.au.

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