Calling candidates & graduates!

If you have read up on the 100 point innovation test, you will note that companies who are currently undertaking or have graduated from an eligible accelerator program are awarded 50 points. Find out about the type of requirements needed and or add a listing if you think your accelerator program is missing.

Accelerator Eligibility

Australia already enjoys a reputation as one of the best places in the world to innovate and our accelerators are no exception. So why the short list of potentially eligible programs?


Well, we think it is a long list, as the ATO will not publish a listing, which was promised prior to commencement of the new laws. The trouble for the ATO (and us), is that eligibility isn't a sure thing as the definition can seem pretty grey until you get into the detail.

The accelerator program must meet four hurdles:

In ATO practice, it seem the criteria are tighter still, so be critical when assessing key guidance such as;
We would argue that perhaps all 5 are not pre-requisites; i.e.  as many companies prefer not to trade upwards of 5-10% equity at low valuations, and do still achieve entry and acceleration within the same or equivalent programs.
If you recognise that an eligible accelerator is taking an independent role as judge, in terms of the innovative nature of the StartUp, it should be clear that merely renting office space, or taking part in similar or part programs will be insufficient in itself to qualify the program as ESIC eligible.  
Eligibility is provided to the most meritorious StartUps, by way the entry criteria. In this way only legitimate programs can vouch the partial pre-qualification of ESIC's. ATO guidance indicates that any serious limitation on eligibility can raise doubts about the status of the entire program, though note that limiting candidates by reference affiliation (e.g. to a particular university, qualification or alumnus) has been shown to be acceptable in one ATO ruling.
Predominately fee driven programs are unlikely to qualify.   
If the entity providing the programs has changed, records must be kept to establishing that the programs are indeed mirror/sister programs regardless of branding, staff or venue similarities.

TIP:  When you win entry into an accelerator, be sure to notify them of the  holding / ESIC company  you will use for fundraising. ESIC status does not attach to individuals, business names or brands.  You need to formally recognise the company as the subject of the accelerator program. 

TIP: Programs that are as rigorous as the Principals Based Test are more likely to apply than  programs simply looking for viable business  prospects (the I, in ESIC stands for innovation).

TIP: Independent investment of $50,000 by the accelerator program can add 50 points 100 points test  

TIP: If your ESIC is unsure of its accelerator status for points, it can qualify by other points, or alternately via the principals based criteria or ATO application process 


We are keen to grow our listing, ether by assessing ESIC's undertaking a program or by referral to the programs itself. If you know some, feel free to drop us a line. It's worth 50 points towards qualification and plenty of love from your fellow startups and investors alike.

Favorable ATO Ruling to June 2022
Company program (not individual) Favorable ATO Ruling 2020-2023

Note: Accelerators programs can, in their own right, apply for a private binding ruling from the ATO. If in doubt you should contact the program administrator and request that they do this on behalf of all cohorts and startups attending the program.
We are aware that Antler, Blue Chili, Slingshot, The Energy Accelerator, CERI  and Collective Campus have gained time limited ESIC PBRs at the time of writing.  These favourable rulings are time limited and apply for specific tax years only.