Startup Year

The Australian Government has committed to implementing Startup Year, a new income contingent loan program to support student participation in accelerator programs at Australian higher education providers.

The Startup Year program is intended to build a pool of knowledgeable new entrepreneurs and potential new companies to drive innovation and job creation in Australia and grow much-needed links between higher education providers, industry and the startup community.


On this page:

Startup Year Consultations

On Thursday 29 September 2022, the Australian Government announced the commencement of the Startup Year consultation process. You can find the Media Release on the Ministers Media Centre.

Consultation paper

The Department of Education sought Stakeholders’ views on the development of the Startup Year program.

Interested parties were invited to contribute their perspectives on the development of the program, including program eligibility and design. The issues, rationale, and proposed design elements of the program are set out in the Consultation Paper

Submissions closed on Tuesday 15 November 2022.

Student Survey

The Department of Education sought views from current students and recent graduates, as potential Startup Year program participants, to better understand how this program should be designed to best meet the needs of students with an idea they want to explore.

The Student Survey closed on Tuesday 15 November 2022.

What you told us

The Department received 38 submissions in response to the Startup Year consultation paper of these:

  • 27 were from university peaks, higher education providers and accelerators
  • 6 were from industry representatives and accelerators
  • 4 were from individuals
  • 1 was from a government agency.

In addition to the consultation paper, the Department met with over 60 people from across the university sector, industry, venture capital and industry-accelerators as well as students and former accelerator participants in a series of meetings and roundtables.

A further 530 students and recent graduates responded to the Startup Year Student Survey. View the summary of results from the Student Survey.

Startup Year Student Survey Results



Survey responses


Interested in creating or joining a startup in the future


Interested in participating in a university accelerator program

83% of those interested in creating and/or joining a startup

Would take out a HELP loan to participate in a university accelerator program

58% of those interested in creating and/or joining a startup

Would expect to pay $6,000 of less for a program

62% of those who would take out a HELP loan

Types of support students would like to have

  • mentors
  • business skills development
  • access to facilities
  • access to capital

Consultations identified key issues and opportunity areas, drawing on the insight and expertise of universities, accelerators, industry, venture capital, students, government, and the broader startup and innovation ecosystem.

Throughout the consultation process, several key themes emerged that aligned across the different stakeholder groups:

  • Startup Year should foster the skills and capabilities required to boost the innovation pipeline
  • University-industry collaboration is essential
  • Loan prioritisation should include both equity and access, particularly for traditionally underrepresented groups.

You can read submissions made to the consultation paper on Startup Year.

Please note, only those who elected to have their submissions made public have been provided.

Next steps

The department will finalise the policy settings for Startup Year based on responses provided through the consultation process. Implementation of the program is subject to legislative change.