UP TO $150,000 FOR START-UP ENTREPRENEURS VISITING THE QANTAS CAPTAIN'S CABIN

UP TO $150,000 FOR START-UP ENTREPRENEURS VISITING THE QANTAS CAPTAIN'S CABIN

LIKE kids in economy invited to visit the pilot's cabin, start-up entrepreneurs and their older, worldlier siblings, scale-up bosses, are being offered a seat up front at Qantas.

"We're proud of our track record as innovators and early adopters and we think there's much more to come, so we're asking Australian and international start-ups to join us as we unearth the next big ideas," says Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

"Customer needs keep evolving and the limits of technology are constantly expanding, so there is a clear business imperative for us to find new ways to improve how we operate."

The airline has partnered with corporate accelerator company Slingshot to sponsor up to ten teams for a 12-week business mentoring and investment program this winter called AVRO Accelerator.

Named after the company's first plane, the Avro 504K, the program will offer Qantus executives fresh ideas from creative entrepreneurs seeking capital and access to established corporate business.

"We are seeing a fundamental shift as more corporate boardrooms mature in their understanding of the role start-ups and scale-ups play in navigating the reinvention of their industry and meeting customer's changing expectations," says Slingshot CEO Karen Lawson.

Successful start-up applicants will receive $50,000 of investment from Slingshot in return for 10% equity of their business, followed by another $100,000 if entrepreneurs can secure extra funding from at least three institutional investors.

"Qantas may look to invest in select businesses after the completion of the AVRO Accelerator," application guidelines state, provided entrepreneurs within 18 months of joining the program give company investors a 25% discount on start-up valuation.

Scale-up entrepreneurs, by contrast, will aim "to achieve a commercial agreement with Qantas to take [their] business proposition or product to the expansive Qantas network via a limited series of face to face meetings with the AVRO team and relevant Qantas Group executives".

Applicants may apply from anywhere in the world but start-up representatives must be available to attend training in Sydney and all applicants must reflect on one of five themes described in AVRO Accelerator guidelines as follows:

1. Creating seamless journeys: Revolutionise the travel experience from inspiration to destination.
2. Care beyond the air: Enrich customers' lives and our communities physically, socially and financially.
3. Building connected platforms: Unlock simplicity in an increasingly connected world.
4. Transforming for tomorrow: Streamline processes to create efficiencies without impacting safety.
5. Innovating without limits: Uncover the next break-through business that we just need to know about.

The deadline for applications is 11:59pm AEST 27  April, 2017.

Business News Australia

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