The Ignite Program: Startup Program for Entrepreneurs

Support for Local Entrepreneurs

Are you looking to get a business idea off the ground or start a new business? The Ignite Program offers a range of activities and resources for people looking to get a business idea off the ground or who have recently started their business. This program is free to participate.

Registrations for the 2022 Ignite Program are now open

Registrations for 2022 are closed. Please subscribe to Talking Business e-newsletter for upcoming opportunities.

What is offered in the Ignite program?

Hackathon Day

Businesses will learn how to solve problems and design solutions. After a fun day, you will get a chance to 'pitch' your ideas to a panel of experts. Find out more.

Workshop - Everything you need to know about Starting a Business

The workshop series, consisting of six weekly sessions, provides an overview of the things you need to know to start a business. We recommend you attend all the sessions so you can get the  most out of the program. 

Masterclasses - Learn from the Experts

Three masterclasses will be run by business experts. At these sessions you will hear from other business owners and have the opportunity to ask questions about starting your own business. 

Speakers will be advertised closer to the scheduled events.

One-on-one Mentoring

Ignite participants can book a one-on-one mentoring session and ask questions about a business ideas or starting a business. 


You are eligible for the program if you are looking to start a business or have a business in the City of Greater Dandenong.

Ignite Workshop Dates

Topic Date and Time
Workshop 1. What problem are you solving? Tuesday 22 March, 6pm-8pm (exclusive to Ignite participants)
Workshop 2. Starting Your Small Business Tuesday 5 April, 6pm-9pm (open to all businesses)
Workshop 3. Business Planning Tuesday 3 May, 6pm-8pm (exclusive to Ignite participants)
Think Tank and Hackathon Saturday 14 May, 9am-5pm (open to all businesses)
Masterclass Tuesday 17 May, 6pm-8pm (open to all businesses)
Workshop 4. Budgeting Financing Tuesday 31 May, 6pm-8pm (exclusive to Ignite participants)
Workshop 5. Pricing and Selling Tuesday 14 June, 6pm-8pm (exclusive to Ignite participants)
Workshop 6. Maximising Your Marketing Tuesday 12 July, 6pm-8pm (open to all businesses)
Masterclass Tuesday 26 July. 6pm-8pm (open to all businesses)

Our Mentors

Marcus Barber

Marcus Barber

Marcus Barber is an experienced strategic futurist and strategy development consultant helping clients across all industry sectors. His client list extends beyond Australia with international engagements in the USA, Singapore, Sri Lanka and across the ditch in New Zealand. Marcus has proven success in strategy design and planning, strategic risk and business development. He has invested over 20 years in running his own small business riding the many ups and downs and has worked with the City of Greater Dandenong for 15 years.

Nic Bolto

Nic Bolto

As a Winston Churchill fellow, graduate of the Melbourne Business School, member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and with Chairman and CEO experience with human service companies, Nic brings expertise to entrepreneurship strategy and goal achievement through the delivery of new market entry assignments, coaching, mentoring and critical reviews. Nic has founded seven enterprises and coached and mentored over 300 clients in all phases of their startup goals, from ideation to validation, from go-live to closure and from investment to acquisition

Sally Lawrence

Sally Lawrence

Truly passionate about achieving outstanding outcomes for her clients and with over 12 years' experience in the consulting, coaching and business training sector, Sally established her first consultancy in 2011 and launched her first small business in 2014. Since then, she has provided support, coaching and change management either one-to-one or in seminars and workshops for over a thousand individuals and numerous organisations. Sally has authored several business-related eBooks and has written and co-authored articles for Success Business Magazine and major regional newspapers.

Katya Ellis

Katya Ellis 

As a talented retail and marketing all-rounder, Katya is well placed to help most small businesses with her extensive experience and exceptional people skills. Katya has held many marketing and business management roles with an emphasis on digital marketing; project, event, staff and partnership management, both locally and internationally. She is passionate about what she does and loves helping others. 

Alex Sy

Alex Sy (MBA)

Alex has over 30 years of hands-on experience in senior management and board advisory roles in small and medium-sized businesses in helping them grow and taking them to the next level. Alex focuses on key outcomes for his clients in the areas of improving business performance, managing growth and change, and business sustainability. He has successfully attained a Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Alex is passionate about helping his clients grow and remain sustainable, and his mantra is: always think and stay positive and empower people to become effective Leaders.


For more information or questions, please contact Ignite Greater Dandenong on 8571 1550 or email business@cgd.vic.gov.au

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