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Accelerate your startup's growth
The Genesis program exists to support the most promising startups through mentoring from experts, assistance with media exposure and a final award of $25,000.

Since launching in 2008, Genesis has supported more than 1,000 University of Sydney alumni, students and staff to accelerate their commercial and social enterprises.

Each semester, we accept the best startups from across the university community. Successful startup teams gain one-on-one access to industry mentors and advisors, a database of entrepreneurship resources, networking events and media exposure.

The Genesis program culminates in the Finale, where finalist teams present their progress for the chance to receive $25,000 equity-free funding and a range of bespoke coaching and support opportunities.

Genesis x Fintech

Could your fintech startup be the next Airwallex or Afterpay? Applications for the inaugural Genesis x Fintech program are now open.

Who can apply?

Team leaders must be connected to the University as alumni, staff members or current students. Other team members may be external.

Awards and support


All applicants

Successful applicants


Invited to startup-mentor speed dating event
Access to all mentors within the network to draw upon when needed
Access to the University of Sydney startup job board
Access to a growing database of entrepreneurship resources
Access to 1-1 startup advisors
Invitations to all Genesis Alumni Events  
Ongoing internal media exposure and support  
Ongoing external media exposure and support    
Chance to win $25,000 (equity-free) cash    
Invitation to monthly coaching sessions    
Invitation to utilise the Genesis Board of Advisors    
Assistance to develop your own Board of Advisors    
Chance for your startup to be focus of Master of Commerce unit of study    

Awarded to the team that has the best chance of achieving their goals, this is determined by how successful they have been at setting and achieving their goals throughout the program.

  • $25,000 cash
  • Ongoing support from Genesis and the Sydney Innovation Hub

Application process

Genesis is open to all students, alumni and staff at the University of Sydney. You can apply as an individual or small team.

Step 1: Build your team

Any student, staff or alumni of USYD can apply solo or engage a team of like-minded individuals. Refer to the program criteria below for team size and eligibility.

Step 2: Apply online

Team leaders complete an online application, which includes a 2 minute video covering:

  • The Problem. What is the problem you are solving?
  • Your Traction. What progress has been made already?
  • The Solution. Tell us about the solution you believe is needed to solve the problem.
  • The Market Opportunity. Tell us about the market opportunity that you see.
Step 3: Meet and greet

The top 30 startups will be invited to talk about their ideas to the Voting Mentors during the night of Tuesday 20 August. On this night the mentors will vote on which teams will make it into the program. Results from this round will be announced on the night with the orientation workshop taking place at 6pm on Thursday 22 August.

  • Startup ideas are only eligible if the business idea submitted originated from one or more members of the team; the intellectual property (IP) belongs solely to the team members.
  • The program is open to teams that may rely upon IP owned by third parties, such as patented technology developed by companies or Universities. It is not necessary at the time of entry to have negotiated licenses or other agreements to use these ideas.
  • The information submitted will be treated confidentially. Non-disclosure agreements will not be signed with any team. In order to participate in the program, you need to provide complete and reliable information about your idea and your team.
  • A maximum of 15 startups (teams or individuals) will be admitted into the program.
  • Teams enrolled in any other business competition run by the University of Sydney can also enrol in the Genesis program with the same idea.
  • The team leader must be a current student, staff member or alumni of the University of Sydney. The team leader must present at the Finale. The other team members can be external to the University.
  • Teams can be any size; you can even enter by yourself. Typical teams are composed of 2-4 people. Students may also be a member of multiple teams but only the team leader of one team.
  • Teams can add or remove people throughout the program; however, the team leader must always be a student, staff or alumni of the University of Sydney. Any changes in the composition of your team needs to be advised to the Sydney Genesis team. If you add or remove a team member during the program, a new team agreement must be completed.
  • Please note that cash prize payments are made in one payment to your nominated team leader. It is then up to them to distribute any winnings as agreed within the team.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, you can enter more than one idea.

Yes, you can enter by yourself; teams can be of any size. However, teams are typically composed of two to four people. You can still make changes in your team during the workshops phase; however, any changes made after your original team agreement will require a revised signed team agreement (that is, you must have a signed team agreement in place that corresponds to your current team).

Yes. In fact, Genesis is open to anyone including undergraduates, postgraduates, post doctorates, lecturers, alumni and staff.

Team leaders must be a current student, alumni or staff member of the University of Sydney. Other team members can be external to the University.

Genesis is open to entrants from any industry. It doesn't matter if you're developing a new piece of technology to sell globally or a new local retail concept. If you've got an idea you want to bring to life, we want you to enter!

Yes! Successful entrants in Genesis are at the cutting edge of innovation. Often this means HDR students. If you've been wondering how to commercialise your research, entering Genesis will provide you with valuable experience and connections.

Why should you apply?


Gain valuable exposure and media support


A chance to receive $25,000 equity-free funding


Unrestricted access to a wide network of experienced mentors


Make use of the University's employment and entrepreneurship resources


Attend masterclasses, coaching sessions and alumni events

Genesis success stories