ClubsNSW has announced a partnership with Slingshot, Australia’s leading corporate accelerator, to launch a new innovation program called ClubsTHRIVE.

The new brand forms an important part of the peak industry body’s broader digital strategy, which is committed to driving greater engagement, growth and diversification for its member clubs.

Having rolled out seven new technology products across its clubs in the last 18 months alone, ClubsNSW is looking to harness ideas from the startup community to fuel its innovation agenda even further.

ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said he was thrilled to announce the new innovation brand, which has the potential to transform how clubs do business and support the communities they serve.

“We believe the partnership with Slingshot will allow us to work closely with the best and brightest in Australia’s startup community to uncover the next big idea for our industry,” said Ball.

“We’re already looking at things like digital literacy for over-65s and eSports, but we know there are plenty of other innovative ideas out there. We’re particularly keen to hear how technology can lead our clubs into a stronger future.”

Open to early-stage startups and later-stage startups (also known as scaleups), the ClubsTHRIVE accelerator program offers a structured 12-week course led by entrepreneurs and industry experts, ongoing support from Slingshot’s community of alumni, mentors and partners, and access to investment opportunities from ClubsNSW and more than 1,200 member clubs.

Startups and scaleups that address the following themes are eligible to apply for the program:

  • Member engagement: new ways to personalise and engage with members; new technologies to leverage member network; better utilisation of facilities to create more memorable experiences; increasing visitation and access to facilities
  • New Experiences: utilising technology to stay relevant; new forms of entertainment; attracting diverse range of new members
  • Social Impact: supporting the diversity and social needs of members and wider community through technology; connecting different generations and minority groups; improving the health and wellbeing of members and their families
  • Smarter Operations: improving the operational facets of member clubs; advancing internal operations for future-proofing; capturing and utilising data to drive growth and better decision-making; minimising environmental footprint with new technologies
  • No Limits: any innovative ideas to retain and attract new members, and enhance the connection clubs have with the wider community

Additional to the $50K seed funding available for startups, ClubsTHRIVE will also provide funding of up to $10K for community based projects aligned to the themes.

“Increasingly, we are seeing leading Australian corporates like ClubsNSW commit to developing an innovation brand and initiative like ClubsTHRIVE to build capability,” said Craig Lambert, Founder of Slingshot.

“The ClubsTHRIVE accelerator not only represents a deep commitment to transforming the club industry, but a consolidated strategy to engage local startups and club patrons in shaping what the future of clubs looks like now and tomorrow. ClubsTHRIVE will help generate new ideas and technology that clubs, both in the city and the bush, will benefit from.”

Applications for the ClubsTHRIVE accelerator program open on 5 March and close on 7 April. Short-listed startups go through a two-week validation process on 13 May, and the successful cohort for the program will be announced on 27 May

Roadshows will be held in Wagga, Tweed Heads, Newcastle and Sydney.

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