Lion is constantly on the lookout for ways to grow and innovate to ensure the long-term future and sustainability of the business. We have a great history of innovation and being best to do business with for our customers and consumers. But the world is changing, and digital technology is transforming how our consumers socialise, as well as presenting many other new challenges and opportunities. Our customers are also demanding new and easier ways of working with us - we have to adapt.

As part of our broader innovation and transformation programme, Lion Unleashed will help us achieve our strategic goals by realising the potential of start-ups and unleashing the power of scale-up businesses. By pushing existing boundaries, we are looking to tap into external disruptive thinking and technologies.

Slingshot is an organisation immersed in innovation, bringing corporates and startups together, running a number of accelerator programs for large corporates. Slingshot understands the mutual benefit of bringing the startup (with skills in early-phase development) to the corporate (with the scale to help make an idea a reality).

Unleashed gives founders the opportunity to collaborate with Lion and Slingshot, who are proven leaders in startup accelerators. We're offering the scale and global reach of the Lion brands and our deep knowledge of our customer base, agricultural sectors, retail, tourism, hospitality and transport communities. We also offer funding support and access to guidance and mentorship from industry-leading experts.

Lion is looking for startups and scaleups with rock star teams aligned to Lion's themes. You can check out the themes here, along with more information and also our application terms and conditions.

Absolutely, this is a unique opportunity to collaborate with Lion and Slingshot.


We provide access to guidance and mentorship from Lion and industry leading experts. Their role is to support and challenge your team and you will be matched based on personality, industry and acumen.


Selected Startups receive up to $150,000 of investment and the opportunity to secure next round investment from Lion, the Slingshot Venture Fund and our investment partners. At Demo Day, both startups and scaleups have the opportunity to pitch to Lion, Slingshot and potential investors.

Champions and Partners

Something often overlooked is acquiring great business relationships for your company early. Teams will gain access to Lion and Slingshot's extensive partner community including software, hosting services and office space. You will receive an exclusive package of Lion Accelerator partner offers from industry leading technology companies, valued at over $500,000.

Branding and Media

Lion and Slingshot will provide your company with branding and marketing support with inclusion in Unleashed Accelerator media and events.

Lion will provide relevant elements of business and market data to accelerator participants to allow them to pilot and test hypotheses, as required.

No, you will own all of your IP.


Thursday 13 July 2017 11.50pm (AEST). See Participant Journey for key dates.

You will be notified within seven days of the application close date.

Tuesday 1 and/or Wednesday 2 August 2017 in Sydney.

Tuesday 5 September 2017. See Participant Journey for key dates

You should apply as a scaleup if you:

  • You are a minimum 3 years old as a business with 20% growth year on year
  • Already have revenue, customers and a product that has product/market fit
  • Do not need immediate funding and the 12 week mentoring program
  • Can deliver your product or service to Lion within three months
You should apply as a startup if you:
  • You are a business 0-36 months old
  • Have a great product or service but need support to gain customer traction, revenue and product/market fit
  • Need immediate funding and the 12 week mentoring program
  • Can deliver a minimum viable product (MVP) to Lion within three months

Often that means you're a startup. If you truly believe your startup is neither a startup nor scaleup, you can apply to both programs and we will evaluate the best fit.

If this site hasn't already answered all of your questions, please reach out to contact us via the Contact Form

Startup Accelerator Program

Intense. 12 weeks is not a long time. You will be part of a cohort of other hard working startup founder teams. You will be immersed in the 12-week program and engage with the best mentors to guide, support and challenge you. You will be exposed to investors, partners, sponsors and media, with opportunities to network and pitch at events throughout the program. At the completion of the 12-week program, select teams will receive additional support to continue to build your business in a further 12-week incubation program. At the end of the program, startups have the opportunity to secure next round investment from Lion, the Slingshot Venture Fund and our investment partners.

At this stage, the program is located at WeWork in Pyrmont in Sydney, where your team will receive desk space for the duration of the 12-week program.

The program runs for a 12-week duration. During the program you should allocate 2.5 days per week of face to face time with the dedicated Slingshot and Lion team and your mentors, as well as attending events. The other 2.5 days you should commit to building your business and seeking to aggressively attract revenue, customers and growth.

Seed Investment

Slingshot will provide an initial upfront investment of $50,000 for 10% equity in your business.
Note: There are no hurdles to accessing this funding, all startups receive $50,000 on entry into the 12-week program.

Follow on from Slingshot

Unlike other programs, the Unleashed program offers the potential for a further $100,000 of follow-on funding from the Slingshot Venture Fund. To access this funding, you will need to receive follow-on investment from three or more investors. Importantly, the follow-on funding is at a valuation set by your startup with no discount.

Follow on from Lion

Lion may look to invest in select businesses after the completion of the Unleashed Accelerator. Any investment by Lion is at a 25% discount to your valuation (if within 18 months of joining the program).

The program is open to flexible investment terms on a case by case basis. The case would need to be extremely strong as to why the terms should change.

During the 12-week program you will have the opportunity to work with Lion management. Depending on your business model and traction, further opportunities may be explored.

Potential outcomes include:

  • Investment by Lion in your business
  • A commercial distribution agreement for your product or service
  • A vendor relationship where Lion will use your product or service
  • Introductions within the Lion community

We don't encourage single founders but will consider you if you can demonstrate you have access to the resources you will need to grow your business quickly during the 12-week program.

The Slingshot and Unleashed team will provide qualifying teams with another three months of support post program. This support includes further developing partnering opportunities with Lion as well as help with capital raising.

Scaleup Program

A scaleup is a business that has a proven team and product with customer traction and revenue. A general rule of thumb is that the business has experienced at least 20% growth year on year over a three-year period. You must be able to deliver your product or service to Lion within three months of the program starting.

Most great startups fail despite having a talented team or excellent product. The challenge is in scaling their customer base, generating revenue quickly and raising capital. The Unleashed scaleup program wants to help these businesses scale by collaborating with Lion and their targeted networks.

There are a few reasons you might want to apply:

  1. Your business could benefit from a commercial relationship with Lion
  2. You are a world class business looking to add a large customer to your portfolio
  3. You have a great product and business and see an application for it within the promoted themes.

No, we anticipate your business is past that stage and you already have the knowledge, product, customer base and revenue in place. You will still have access to all the Startup benefits of curriculum, mentorship and additional program value, but specifically as you need them. You will need to attend some key events throughout the 12-week program in Sydney and informed upfront.

The scaleup program consists of a limited series of face to face meetings with the Unleashed team and relevant Lion executives. The aim of the program is to achieve a commercial partnership between Lion and your business. Importantly it is a quick YES or NO process, we call it the “Five meetings to NO” process. We understand dealing with a large corporate can be time consuming so the process is designed to get to an outcome as quickly as possible.

Potential outcomes include:

  • Investment by Lion in your business
  • A commercial distribution agreement for your product or service
  • A vendor relationship where Lion will use your product or service internally
  • Introductions within the Lion community

The program consists of a number of workshops and events in Sydney and potentially at Lion state based offices.

The program consists of a number of engagements with Slingshot and Lion executives. The program is designed to limit the number of face to face meetings required to get to a commercial agreement that is mutually beneficial.

There is no upfront investment in your scaleup and no equity taken for program participation. Lion will closely consider an investment in your business.