LakeWendouree_Ballarat (23)-medium_edite

Ballarat Export-ready

What's the Ballarat Export-ready Incubator?

The Ballarat Export-ready Incubator assists owners of new and early stage businesses to access business support and knowledge to grow their business internationally.

The Incubator enables the development of global mindset, skills and capabilities to improve chances of commercial success.

How does the Incubator work?

Places are limited to up to 15 startup/early-stage business Founders.


Successful applicants will get:

- 14 weeks of business knowledge, information and support

- 5 full day workshops identifying setting up your business for export, finding markets for export and tech for export

- 6 individual or team 1:1 business coaching sessions

- introductions to local business organisations and accelerator programs where you may not have these networks

- to participate in an Incubator which is commercially worth about $5,000 per person

- a unique, exceptional quality Incubator lead by export experts and delivered in person (COVID-19 permitting) in Ballarat for business owners in the region.

This is a once in a lifetime business development opportunity as this Incubator will not be offered again in the Ballarat region.

Participation in this Incubator is completely free.

All elements are government funded.

What's the purpose of the Incubator?

  1. Expand your knowledge and information (about international markets, cultures, contacts, processes, etc)

  2. Expand your understanding of export processes

  3. Assist you to build strategies to overcome the barriers to trading internationally and / or exporting

  4. Help you to identify and prioritise international markets most appropriate for export of your product or service

  5. Enable you to better appreciate the legislative, jurisdictional, administrative and Trade Agreement procedures of the country/countries you have chosen for export

  6. Expand your knowledge and access to business support opportunities

  7. Expand your knowledge of how to utilise technologies to establish online sales locally into international markets

  8. Develop your understanding of consumer and global business culture to optimise your product design and branding and better enable you to develop strong business and retail channel partnerships in your chosen markets.




Am I and my startup business eligible?

The focus of the Incubator is to assist Founders who are seeking to learn how to trade globally and potentially to export.

The Incubator is available to everyone in Ballarat and surrounds with startup/early-stage businesses who are considering exporting or trading internationally (for example through e-commerce).

Founder/s of a Startup or early-stage business must meet the following criteria.


Founders must be 18 years old and above and the business must:

  • not be older than 12 months unless the product or service is less than 12 months old

  • have an ABN

  • demonstrate that it has existing customers

  • demonstrate that it has existing revenue

  • demonstrate a willingness to learn how to establish online sales locally into international markets and/or to export

  • have product or services differentiation - demonstrate that it solves a real problem and has good take up from customers for selling a solution. What is the ‘pain point’ for your customer that your business solves

  • demonstrate you’re interested in understanding and learning how to reach international markets and/or export

  • be willing to sign a commitment agreement to ensure that you are prepared to commit to complete all elements of the Incubator

  • commit to attending the first day in Ballarat (location to be confirmed) on the 28th August 2021

People born overseas and young people 18+ are strongly encouraged to apply.

What is the selection criteria?

If you would like to read the questions before applying, you can download a PDF of the selection criteria below.

Please note that you can't apply for the Incubator by using this PDF. You can only apply using the Apply Now button.



Where will you find Founders to participate?

Across the City of Ballarat and surrounding Shires, councils, business groups, start up and co-working organisations, community leaders, young people and others within culturally diverse communities; multicultural community organisations, youth organisations, employment providers and community learning services and others are all critical to getting the message out about this Incubator.


We want to make sure that no-one misses the opportunity to apply if they are eligible and want to undertake the program. 

As an organisation, business or council with networks, this is where we need your help to spread the message through your personal, professional and business networks. You're welcome to contact us at the details below.

What is the application process?

Applications open Monday 21 June and close Saturday, 31 July, 2021 at 9.00pm. In fairness to all applicants, late applications cannot be accepted.

Stage 1: Completion of an online application. Applications can only be accepted via this website - button below. 

Stage 2: Up to 20 startups/early stage businesses will be shortlisted and a 10 minute online meeting or phone call will be arranged to discuss their application.

Stage 3: On 9 August we will advise up to 15 Founders that they have been successful in their application.

Unsuccessful applicants will be informed by 15 August. You may ask for feedback if you were not selected. If you are not successful at this stage we will let you know about other programs, events, and startup/early stage business support organisations in Ballarat and surrounds so you may find other support for the development of your business. 

If you do not have experience in completing an application form, please email

If I put in an Application, will I get a place?

We would love to have enough places in the Incubator for everyone who applies however this will be a competitive process which means some people will miss out.

There are a number of other business development programs happening around Ballarat so if you aren't chosen for this Incubator we will send you details so you can find out more about other local programs.

Key dates

21 June               Applications open                

31 July                 Applications close 

9 August            Successful applicants advised

15 August           Unsuccessful applicants advised

16 August           During this week a 'get together' event for Founders to meet each other and facilitators.  Date TBC

28 August          First workshop 9.30am - 4.30pm. Attendance is mandatory for eligibility to apply

11 September     Second workshop 9.30am - 4.30pm. Attendance is a requirement of completion of the program

9 October          Third workshop 9.30am - 4.30pm. Attendance is a requirement of completion of the program

13 November      Fourth workshop 9.30am - 4.30pm. Attendance is a requirement of completion of the program

4 December      Fifth and final workshop 9.30am - 4.30pm


All workshops will be held in Ballarat with locations to be confirmed.

Are you one of 10-15 Founders we're looking for?

Ian, 42, owns a farm near Beaufort. During COVID-19 in 2020, Ian developed his olive oil and wine products to sell through local cafes and across Australia via Shopify.


He is curious about exporting but doesn’t know about which countries would be the best to export to or the Australian or international laws relating to export. He is also not sure whether to continue selling via e-commerce or set up distributors overseas and export products.


Ian has no experience in marketing and hasn't set up his business structure to export but is keen to learn and receive business coaching. 

Samira, 27, lives in Alfredton, has 3 kids under 11 and not a lot of time. She's a hairdresser and wants to run an online global hairdressing training business.


With her family’s support in child care, she is able to attend all in-person sessions and can attend online sessions. 

She knows her trade and wants to add a second product by selling wholesale hairdressing equipment, supplies and haircare products. She is exploring whether to dropship these or purchase stock and send.


She wants to train globally but to start, will focus her equipment and supplies business on UAE where she was born and grew up until the age of 18 when she arrived in Australia. She thinks her local networks, language and cultural knowledge of UAE will give her a good start.


She has some online experience and is very willing to learn and be coached.

Rebecca, 37, lives in Daylesford and her day job is in IT. She loves online shopping – especially clothes.  She wants to start a ‘side ‘hustle’ that will turn into her day job.


She wants to buy clothes overseas and sell directly into global markets via dropshipping through Amazon and e-bay.


She will also sell locally made clothing such as alpaca scarves and jewellery via shopify.


She needs to know to use these platforms and the processes for all elements of the supply chain.


She has low capital but enough to make the first purchase which would fund the second and third order etc.


She is looking forward to mentoring and attending all in-person, online and business coaching components of the Incubator program.

For questions regarding the Ballarat Export-ready Incubator, please contact:

Lynda Ford

+61 (0) 414 440 483