Applications are open for the Innovation Connect (ICON) Grant, a program that supports the thriving startup culture in Canberra.

To help empower entrepreneurs to develop and grow their innovative ideas, matched funding between $10,000 and $30,000 is provided.

We spoke to three Canberra companies that were successful in the application process last year to hear about their experience and motivations.

The Healthy Eating Hub

“We have some pretty big goals at The Healthy Eating Hub and coming up with the cash to invest in these goals has been tricky. I applied for the ICON grant because I believe I’ve got a great product with some good traction but didn’t have the money to push it further,“ said Kate Freeman, Director of The Healthy Eating Hub.

“The ICON grant has enabled us to invest in product development and take it to a bigger market. We’re hoping to use the funds to create a valuable online platform that teaches people long term healthy eating patterns and really make a difference in their lives! Plus, we hope to make a really good dent in the Australian market and get our name out there!”


“We applied because we had applied in the past and were told we had a good project but needed to make a little more progress. The panel wanted to see a functional prototype and evidence of interest from the market. We had completed development of our prototype and started conversations with customers so we felt ready to apply again,” said Seb Harison, Co-Founder and CEO of CardCastle.

“We hoped that the extra funding from the grant would allow us to commit on a contract to bring our prototype to manufacturability and then manufacture/assemble the first run of devices here in Canberra. We are now nearing completion of our manufacturable prototype and are ordering parts to prepare for manufacture/assembly.”

Evalue8 Sustainability

“Being awarded the ICON grant gave me the confidence to take the risks I needed to get my idea off the ground. This then lead to the connections that helped it fly,” said Ilea Buffier, Managing Director of Evalue8 Sustainability.

“I was able to test the market and develop an MVP and move faster than I had imagined possible.”


The Healthy Eating Hub, CardCastle and Evalue8 Sustainability are all alumni of the GRIFFIN Accelerator program at the Canberra Innovation Network.

Within that program they are equipped to master the art of ‘the pitch’ which is one of the important elements in the grant process.

The Canberra Innovation Network delivers the ICON Grant program in partnership with the ACT Government.

Applications close on April 6. Learn more about the application process and what’s involved.