CUA Sponsored Entrepreneur Program kicks off for 2017






Brisbane, 2 June, 2017: CUA, Australia’s largest member-owned financial services provider, and technology startup hub River City Labs, are once again offering entrepreneurs the chance to access a sponsored membership for their startup to help accelerate their company.

The program includes full-time membership at River City Labs’ in Brisbane, structured mentoring, specialist masterclasses and 3 months’ publicity, fully sponsored.

Entrepreneurs can apply either as an individual or as a member of a startup team, and it’s open to all ages, gender, background and experience. Applicants simply need proof they’ve started working on their idea, via a current prototype, website or operating business.

Because of River City Labs’ cooperative and collaborative culture, entrepreneurs must also be willing to share their story and challenges with the RCL community. This is vital for accessing help from peers and mentors, as well as publicity and marketing purposes.

CUA Head of Digital Innovation Melissa Witheriff said the collaborative spirit of the program aligns with CUA’s belief in delivering mutual good.

“CUA works with our members through life changes and one way we do this is by developing solutions that enables them to engage with us anywhere, anytime. We are looking forward to seeing what unique and meaningful business ideas participants come up with over the next three months,” Ms Witheriff said.

Commitment is very important. Entrepreneurs need to be able to commit full-time – 5 days per week – for the 3-month period.

“We’re keeping our eye out for founders who are 100% committed and want to give their startup the best chance to develop and succeed,” Ms Witheriff said.

Online whitegoods marketplace 2ndlease, whose startup was sponsored last year, said the benefits and experience were second to none.

“Prior to be accepted in to the SEP program, 2ndLease was largely a one-man band. Engaging in the community and RCL workspace meant we have now grown our team 7, including a member from another SEP team. The mentorship has been invaluable, we are still in touch with a number of mentors today, who continue to help guide our strategy and development” 2ndLease founder Alex Brown said.

“It was great to be surrounded by other people going through the same problems we face. I would highly recommend other entrepreneurs apply and get involved in the Brisbane start-up community, because it made a huge difference to our business, and accelerated our progress. We would not have been accepted into the Muru-D RCL accelerator otherwise” Mr Brown said.

Other startups that made the cut in 2016 are Gizmo 3D, Crowd Delivery, Genesis AR and Critik.

River City Labs CEO Peta Ellis thanked CUA for its continued support, saying the organisation continues to play a pivotal role in the startup ecosystem.

“The support of CUA through its sponsored program gives many cash-strapped startups the boost they need help move forward.

“River City Labs is delighted to be working with CUA again and look forward to helping mould our startups into global players,” Ms Ellis said.


Key dates for 2017 Intake are

Applications Open:     Immediately

Applications Close:     9 June 2017

Interviews/Pitches:      Thursday 15th June 2017 from 12-4pm at River City Labs

Final 5 Entrepreneurs announced: Friday 16th June 2017

Residency Dates:       19th June 2017 – 1st September 2017


Key Criteria for applicants

  1. Entrepreneurs can apply an individual or as a member of a Startup team.
  2. Entrepreneur must have proof they have started working on their idea/ business via a current prototype, website, operating business.
  3. Application is open to all Entrepreneurs of all ages, gender, background and experience.
  4. Current and past members of River City Labs are able to apply.
  5. Entrepreneurs must be available to commit to work on their business full time (minimum 5 days per week for the 3-month period) to be available to develop the business further.
  6. Entrepreneurs must be willing to share challenges, problems, and hurdles with the River City Labs community to access help from Startup peers and mentors.
  7. Applicants must be willing to share their Startup journey, story and personal business profile with River City Labs program representative and Sponsor representative for publicity and marketing purposes.
  8. No Non-Disclosure Agreements will be signed as part of this program.


About CUA

CUA is Australia’s largest credit union, offering responsible financial, health and insurance solutions to more than 440,000 Australians. As a mutual, we were created by members for members and we care for them through the changes and challenges in their lives. We are working on being available whenever and wherever members need us. Our growth and success enables us to reinvest in our business, deepen our relationships with members and build stronger communities. Visit for more information on our initiatives, services and locations.


About River City Labs

River City Labs fosters the growth of startup companies solving big problems. We provide resources to empower, support and connect entrepreneurs. Central to everything we do is a focus on collaboration and connection.

Since 2012 over 460 entrepreneurs have called RCL home. Through our events program we have welcomed more than 16,000 guests into our community by hosting over 500 events aimed at supporting founders on their entrepreneurship journey.

River City Labs powers a range of programs, events and engagement opportunities, enabling our Corporate partners to innovate differently and embed their teams within the startup community.

River City Labs is a human-led organisation ensuring founders come first always and every engagement is underpinned by our core values of Give Learn Grow, Take Action and Always Challenge.



Media contacts: 

For CUA:

Maureen Pang

Corporate Communications Specialist

Phone: 02 9323 8009



For River City Labs:

Fran Foo

Media Adviser

Phone: 0416 302 719