To be eligible to apply you must:

  • be a current Victorian resident.
  • be over 18 years old at the time of application.
  • be working on a lawful, early stage business or startup idea.
  • have your application submitted within the published application dates.
  • have completed and provided all requested information.
  • be able to enter into a scholarship agreement for the period for 2024, by no later than 6 December 2023.

For more information on eligibility see the full Terms and Conditions here.

To apply you need to complete and submit the online application form by 11.59pm on Sunday 12 November 2023.

Applicants can indicate any specific access requirements as part of their application. Enquiries can also be made to staff via [email protected].

The option to submit responses to the application questions in video or audio format is available for those with access requirements. Please contact [email protected] to discuss before submitting via video/audio.

Not sure if your business counts as early stage? We use the definitions in City of Melbourne’s Startup Action Plan (PDF – page 41) and LaunchVic’s Startup Framework (PDF – page 14).

One aim of these scholarships is to provide seed funding, tailored mentoring and support to business founders at the very start of their business journey, as a majority seed funding and support across the startup ecosystem tends to be aimed at more established and growing / scalable startups.

The scholarships are designed to support businesses at idea stage or just starting out with their Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that are pre or low-revenue.

There are no application fees or equity taken in order to take part in the scholarship.

Please contact us at [email protected] if you want to discuss any barriers to your participation.

The scholarship was designed to allow scholars to give more time and focus on their business over a 12-month period.

The seed funding could be used to fast track business growth or alternatively be used to cover other costs associated with focusing on your business (such as helping with living expenses and transport to and from StartSpace).

Part of the scholarship includes a bespoke program of support which may include mentoring, coaching, training, conference, events and StartSpace Loft membership for up to 2 team members (The primary applicant and the co-primary applicant).

The StartSpace team will work with the scholars to plan and develop a tailored program focused around what the scholar is looking to achieve with their business.

Scholarship are for individuals or teams of up to 2 people for the duration of the scholarship – subject to meeting application and membership criteria and approvals.

Scholars will work with StartSpace staff to create goals and milestones at the beginning of their scholarship from January 2024. Continued funding and participation in the program will be conditional upon being able to demonstrate meeting the goals, milestones and other reporting requirements outlined in the Terms and Conditions.

You will be contacted no later than Thursday 7 December 2023 with an update on your application.

Details of the library’s COVID-safe plans, FAQs and conditions of entry can be found here.

You can contact the StartSpace Team with questions about the Lisa Ring and Family Scholarships by email at: [email protected] or phone: 03 8664 7111.

Applications are open until 11.59PM Sunday 12 November AEDT – no late applications will be accepted.

The full details of the judging criteria are included in the Terms & Conditions – please make sure you read those before you apply.

Below are the things to consider for each criteria when you are preparing your answers. Aim to give as much detail as you can within the word limit. Feel free to use bullet points where appropriate and summarise key information in your answers. 

Market & problem (20%)

  • What is your business idea / business model?
  • How did you come up with it?
  • Can you demonstrate a clear understanding of: target customers, the problem you are trying to solve and the addressable market for your business?

2. Solution & Innovation (20%)

  • Demonstrate how your service or product solves this problem for customers or fills a demand in the market? (i.e. product market fit)
  • What’s new and innovative in your solution?

3. Founder Strength & Fit (20%)

  • Demonstrate how you (and Co-applicant if applicable) are particularly setup for success to deliver your solution – why are you best placed to deliver on this idea e.g. lived experience, skills, networks, knowledge.

4. Scholarship Impact (30%)

  • Describe how this Lisa Ring & Family scholarship and its benefits will change the runway of your business?
  • How much of a difference would this scholarship make to what you are trying to achieve?

5. Traction (10%)

  • Demonstrate what you have achieved so far and what goals have been set to be undertaken in the next 12 months?

There are two scholarships available to be awarded in 2024, to either solo founders or teams of two (a Primary applicant and Co-primary applicant).

If you have a co-founder we recommend you choose one of you to be the primary applicant and one to to be the secondary applicant and put your effort into one application. If you are awarded a scholarship you will both be able to take advantage of the key benefits.

Yes you can. In that case, amongst your team you would need to select one person to lead on the application and be named as the primary applicant, and you have the option of adding one other team member as the secondary applicant.

However if awarded the scholarship, only the two team members included in the scholarship application will be able to take advantage of the desks in the Loft Co-working space and the bespoke mentoring and coaching as part of the scholarship benefits. 

There are 21 questions to answer in the form.

We recommend you read through the form and construct and save your answers in a separate document before completing and submitting the application form. Please make sure you pay attention to any word limits supplied within the question.

The scholarships are open to all fields and ideas, there are on restrictions in regards to specific industry or type of business / idea. What matters is how well you articulate your idea or solution, including the progress you have made so far and what you are planning to do over the next 12 months. 

StartSpace staff will assess all eligible applications based on the criteria in Section 1 and Section 2 and select a shortlist of up to 10 applications for consideration by a selection panel which may include the philanthropist Lisa Ring, representatives from SLV Board and StartSpace staff.

The winners will be announced at the StartSpace End of Year Celebration event in December 2023, date TBC.

The submission of a pitch video or slide deck in Question 19 are optional. These supporting documents should be hosted on YouTube / Vimeo or in a Google drive or equivalent with the link to access the file(s) are included in your application. Please ensure the files have no access restrictions.

There are 21 questions to respond to in the application form. Some of the questions have word limits for the answers (usually 150 or 200 words, which it will state in the question). Please follow the instructions for each question.

If you are submitting a pitch video as part of Question 19 the pitch video needs to be no longer than 3 minutes.

If you are submitting a slide deck presentation as part of Question 19 it needs to be no longer than 10 slides.

No, you do not need to be a member of StartSpace to be eligible to apply for the scholarships.

In Question 17 of the application the question asks: If your application is successful, what would you do with the scholarship funding and bespoke support? How will this change the runway of your business? Please provide a short outline of the stages and key targets you would like to achieve in the 6-12 months period. [up to 200 words]

So we recommend you supply some brief details as to what you would like to spend the money on, and how it will allow you to work towards your goals and the steps you are looking to achieve.

There is no specific restriction on what you plan to use the money for as long as you can demonstrate how it will allow you to help achieve your goals.

In the application form, there is no specific requirement to submit a finance report or project. However Question 17 does ask you to outline how you would use the scholarship funding?

The Terms and Conditions State the following requirements:

  • Able to commit to being a Victorian resident for the duration of the program;
  • Committed to in-person attendance at the award ceremony at the StartSpace End of Year Showcase Event (Date TBC);
  • Committed to reporting duties, including delivery of:
    • A Progress Update Report (mid-term report) by May 2024,
    • A Final Scholarship Report (end-of-term report) by October 2024
  • Committed to join quarterly check-in meetings with StartSpace team

You will have some commitments such as those above where you will need to be in Victoria and able to come into StartSpace. You will get more information about the commitments if you are shortlisted / awarded. It is possible to spend time overseas during the scholarship program as long as you are meet the main commitments and are based in Victoria for most of the program period.

Question 16. Asks: What progress or traction have you achieved so far? [up to 150 words]

It is important to outline within the word limit any key progress or milestones you have made with your business so far. It does not matter specifically where you are in your early stage, for example if you are working on your minimum viable product, have recently launched or still researching to validate your solution. It is important that you can effectively communicate the steps you have taken and why they are important or significant in your progress.

The main selection criteria based on impact is looking for you to outline what impact you you have achieved so far, however if your business progress has had a knock-on effect to your community for example, you can also include that / explain that impact in your application response.

There is nothing specific that has caught people out in applications in the past. However the Terms and Conditions go into more detail about the expectations, eligibility and selection criteria than the main web page, which is why we emphasise the requirement to read it.

If you are awarded the scholarship you will need to be available for the StartSpace End of Year Celebration (Date TBC in December).

You will also need to be available for your in-person Loft induction in January (at a date to be agreed with the StartSpace Community Manager), as well as other commitments through the scholarship program that will be outlined to you if you are selected for a scholarship offer.