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Start House - Ideation Program

Start House - Ideation Program

Start House - Ideation Program

Regional innovation

Back to Programs

Distributing diversity in innovation across regional NSW.

You only pay $125

Program value $4,000

This program is supported by the Australian Government Incubator Support Initiative.

The Business Centre

Hunter + Central Coast

How It Works

We work with regionally disperse partners to deliver the Start House program, bringing experts in residence, mentors, applied business training and a network for start-ups and scale-ups. This program provides an ecosystem of support and a pathway to global opportunities. Start House works with business hubs to distribute this program across NSW and beyond. Join us for the next Discovery Session to meet your local ecosystem of support.

How It Works

The Ideation Program is a 3-month program for entrepreneurs who want to turn their idea into a business.

  • Ideation Program

    After the ideation boot camp, we work with you one on one to get your idea into a business. We will help you develop your 'minimum viable product' and test it in the market. Take it at your pace. 

  • 1:1 Mentoring

    Each participant will have an experienced business advisor to help them along the ideation journey.

  • Pitch Practices

    Our team will help you develop a pitch that with cut through to any investor. Learn from your seasoned mentors and the program's alumni for their dos and don'ts.

  • Regional Pitch Night

    There's nothing like the real thing. We collect business leaders, investors and fellow startups for you to pitch to. Have an opportunity to form partnerships and connections for your startup. Locations: Newcastle, North Wyong or Gosford, Singleton, Maitland or Port Stephens.

  • Ideation Toolbox

    Each participant will receive a toolbox of business tools, and free products and services to help them along the ideation journey. Toolbox includes: Value Proposition Canvas, Business Model Canvas, Shareholder agreement example, Founder agreement example, Jobs for NSW Funding Road Map, Cloud service credits, Jazoodle credits, Cyferlinx registration.

  • Application Deadline

    Newcastle 8th March 2019 | Central Coast 18th March | Singelton 18th March | Maitland 25th March 

Who Should Apply

Apply if:

  • You have an idea

    You have an innovative idea or product/service that has the potential of growing internationally.

  • You are an entrepreneur

    You have an innovative product/service and want to learn more about your customers, their problems, product delivery and communicate how value (benefit) will be delivered, experienced and acquired. 

  • Startup or Scale-up

    Regardless of where you are on your entrepreneurship journey, we work with you across our lean methodology and apply the level of support based on where you are in the commercialisation cycle.


This program is delivered by industry experts to help you apply your learning to your business. Our Mentors and Advisors are highly accomplished and experienced in operating a business.

Gordon Whitehead
Gordon Whitehead Business Advisor

Tech head and tech mentor

Reda Haddadeh
Reda Haddadeh Senior Business Advisor

An international strategist with a big heart for community

Barrett Campbell
Barrett Campbell Chief Financial Officer

Our grounded, thought provoking CFO

Steve Wait
Steve Wait Chief Executive Officer

Mentor and leader, sportsman and Scotsman

Michael Hilsden FAIM, FACS.
Michael Hilsden FAIM, FACS. Senior Business Advisor

International experience but passion for the Mid Coast


This program is supported by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science through Incubator Support Initiative funding as part of the Entrepreneurs’ Program.

Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Cheryl Pollock Founder of ChezLeon

At 64, Cheryl Pollock never expected to be a medical entrepreneur on the cusp of taking her game-changing product to the world. Nor did she plan to give away her job to focus on ChezLeon, the passive massage wear she designed to help those suffering lymphedema or edema – the blockage of lymph vessels which leads to excessive fluid retention. It can occur after cancer treatment and affects 45 million people globally. “I had no idea the journey I was going to go on – it’s pushed me to expand myself a lot,” says the modest Waratah resident. Ms Pollock has patents for ChezLeon in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Europe, with the UK and US in the offing, and needs seed funding to get it to market. Her entrepreneurial journey began in 2009, when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Ms Pollock, who studied mechanical drawing and engineering at TAFE and has wide experience in engineering and building, had a total hysterectomy and the lymph nodes in her groin removed. Seven years later, she has developed an insert with bubbles that discreetly massages the body and may assist breast cancer patients but also those with all types of cancer, lymphoedema and edema. “I had to do a fair bit of testing out prior to be able to get anyone to acknowledge I was on to something,” she says, adding that a $60,000 federal government grant was crucial in assisting her product development, so too advice from The Business Centre in Newcastle. ChezLeon’s first product is a bra insert for breast cancer patients and there are plans for inserts for other body areas. Ms Pollock says the people she assists keep her motivated to continue on her journey. “What I have realised is that whatever you do in life, all the ups and downs, is an accumulation of a wealth of knowledge and experience that can and should be utilised to benefit society and help grow yourself,” she says. “Life is about the evolution of yourself, society, the planet and the universe. “I have had a lot of knocks, obstacles as well as opportunities and it’s the accumulation of all that that gave me the skills to do what I have done and take on the challenge to see this through to fruition.” ChezLeon Passive Massage Wear is on Facebook. Source: Newcastle Herald, 26 March 2018, Penelope Green.

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