Calling All Aspiring News Entrepreneurs: Google News Initiative Startups Boot Camp launches in Australia and New Zealand

Today we’re announcing the launch of the Google News Initiative (GNI) Startups Boot Camp Australia & New Zealand – a program designed specifically to meet the needs of aspiring news entrepreneurs in the context of these unique media environments. The fully-remote program runs nine weeks and includes weekly group seminars and one-on-one coaching. There is no cost to attend the Boot Camp for successful applicants. If this sounds interesting to you, read on… 

The GNI Startups Boot Camp is a professional development program that takes news entrepreneurs from idea to a launch in just nine weeks. It’s not academic, nor is it simply a series of lectures – it’s the hands-on support and coaching needed to breathe life into a new idea and bring it to market.

Since its launch globally, more than 50 startup newsrooms have graduated from the program. The founders came from a range of backgrounds – professional journalists, engaged citizens, entrepreneurs – and since graduating from the Boot Camp they’ve collectively started to change the narrative in their respective countries. They’ve not only launched, but have caught the news industry’s attention, won awards, and – most importantly – re-built trust with the communities they serve.

At Fishburners, we’ve been connecting first-time startup entrepreneurs with expert advice and support for more than a decade. In that time, we’ve been able to support more than 1,000 companies through our programs and community. We’re excited to bring our own experience supporting startups into the world of news and information, and this partnership with the Google News Initiative solidifies our commitment.

The program is groundbreaking in several ways: 

  • Upon acceptance, you receive a complimentary one-year Pro membership to Fishburners Founders Hub worth AUD647.00, which gives you access to startup perks and discounts worth up to AUD200,000 as well as community connections, tools, resources, mentoring, events and investor connections.
  • The program doesn’t end when you graduate. We will provide one-on-one support for you and your team for a year after you’ve completed the Boot Camp curriculum. 
  • It’s an incredibly hands-on program. This isn’t academic. We don’t do mock interviews or experiments. No book reports to hand in. This is the real thing: you’re working on taking your concept from idea to launch.
  • Your team of coaches are veterans of both startups and mainstream news, and the curriculum is the result of several years of research and hundreds of interviews with news startup founders.

The Boot Camp will also address the realities of starting a business or nonprofit journalism project in Australia or New Zealand, addressing country-specific questions like tax status, business registration and  legal preparedness. We will also look at ways to strengthen the region’s media ecosystem by tackling issues like diversity and how to increase support for rural and indigenous communities currently under-served by news.

If you’re a journalist who’s ready to start a new project or if your experience is outside of professional journalism, but you’re passionate about the role that journalism plays in civic life – we’re here to help.

When you join the Boot Camp, you benefit from the collective experience and wisdom of founders who have very likely faced the challenges you’re about to face yourself. You’ll also benefit from a curriculum based on the GNI Startups Playbook, published in partnership with some of the leading practitioners and thinkers in the entrepreneurial news space.

The first step is to apply.

Applications are now open to Australia and New Zealand residents for the autumn 2022 Boot Camp. The program will run from 10 October to 9 December (with a one week break) and aims to accept up to 20 projects. The application window opens 8 August and closes 12 September at 5pm AEST. To get a better idea of the types of projects we think are a good fit, read our detailed FAQs and join our live Q&A session on Tuesday, Aug 30 at 12:30 pm AEST.

If you have questions or are feeling intimidated to apply for this opportunity, be sure to join the Q&A session. We’ll answer your questions about the program and application. 

RSVP for our Q&A session here.

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