Upstart Challenge Ballarat

Our flagship program. The Upstart Challenge is our entrepreneurial ideas challenge, accelerator and mentoring program for secondary school students. We encourage and inspire them all to have a go, to develop critical thinking skills and connections, and to discover their inner changemaker.

  • School registration now open

  • 24 March            Upstart Challenge Launch and Info Session

  • 14 May                 School Registration closes

  • 9 June – 25th     June In-School Ideas Labs

  • 26 June               Big Ideas submissions closes

  • 10 August           Innovation Accelerator Week 1 commences

  • 24 August           Innovation Accelerator Week 2 commences

  • 9 September     Maker Day (this will be a combination of rehearsal, expo prep and planning, and prototyping)

  • 7 October          Pitch / Expo Prep and Rehearsal

  • 14 October       Pitch / Expo Presentation

  • 22nd Nov         Springfest (optional)

Get Involved

The Upstart Challenge Journey

Upstart Impact

1163 students have developed entrepreneurial skills
2180 people joined our workshops and event network
73 Industry mentors and partners

“The more we can educate secondary school students to learn both business basics and entrepreneurial traits, the better off as a country we will be. The Upstart Challenge program manages to successfully weave in both. ”

Maurice Grasso, Melbourne Angel Investment
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News & Events

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3 days ago

Upstart Challenge

#wherearetheynow? 2019 Upstart Challenge finalist Bowen Posser (Belmont HIgh School) talks to us about this year 12 experience and what we hopes to achieve outside of school… read his answers here

#futureleaders #creativity #jobsofthefuture #innovation
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1 week ago

Upstart Challenge

Update! The Upstart Challenge Ballarat Launch Event on March 26 has been postponed until Term 2.

Thank you to the schools that have already registered for the Ballarat Upstart Challenge we will be in touch in Term 2 with any updates to the program.

Going forward you'll find us working from home, keep your eyes peeled for virtual updates or read more about what we're doing to help reduce the transmission of CONVID-19
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2 weeks ago

Upstart Challenge

In light of the ongoing measures imposed to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, and to ensure the safety of our community, we advise our exhibition and event ‘Who’s Designing Your Future?’ as part of the Geelong Design Week has been postponed.

We understand that this it’s disappointing to all involved however our decision has been made to ensure the health and wellbeing of our community.

For the latest information about coronavirus (COVID-19) please visit

However, all is not lost and the current restrictions also provides us with the opportunity - to share some of the exhibition stories online. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be celebrating our young entrepreneurs journeys and updates on “Where are they now”. So stay tuned and to your favourite Social Media and let’s start some new conversations online as we continue to kickstart tomorrow’s changemakers!

A huge thank you to our students, past and present, who have given a lot of their time to help us organise and curate the exhibition. It’ll be great to have some online interaction and we look forward to providing more opportunities for our creative and design communities to collaborate going forward with more updates on the Geelong Design Week plans to follow.

You can follow us on: • Facebook
• Instagram
• Twitter
• LinkedIn

Stay safe and keep virtually in touch.

Thank you!

The Upstart Team
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2 weeks ago

Upstart Challenge

In exciting news we've been named as a UNESCO City of Design Champion!

Geelong’s designation as a UNESCO City of Design is global recognition of the city’s creative heritage and design-driven future. It is an absolute honour to have been chosen as a Design Champion for the innovation and Design Thinking services we deliver to the youth of Geelong.

This achievement coincides with the 10 day long exhibition titled 'Who's Designing Your Future?' running from March 19 till March 29 on the ground floor of the Geelong Regional Libraries celebrating 7 years of the Upstart Entrepreneurial Challenge in Geelong. Part of the Geelong Design Week City of Greater Geelong the exhibition showcases the innovative designs and creative ideas of Upstart's young people to “positively change their world”.

To celebrate the exhibition we'll be holding an event on Thursday 26 March from 5pm - 6pm at the Geelong Library. Join us to meet some of our young innovators and changemakers making a difference in the world. Alongside our rich and diverse network of thought leaders, industry mentors, educators who, like yourself have supported Upstart on our mission to Inspire, Educate and Amplify tomorrow’s changemakers from all walks of life.

Registrations are key, book here
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