Innovation for the real world

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QUT bluebox Challenge

Every challenge is an opportunity for an entrepreneur.

Crowd Vote is now open
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  • Opportunity to present to early-stage investors
    Opportunity to present to early-stage investors
    * Subject to investment readiness and decisions by the QUT Founders Fund and invited early stage investors.
  • Participate in pitching and investment workshopsParticipate in pitching and investment workshops
  • Win cash fundingWin cash funding
  • Gain exposureGain exposure
  • Test your idea with judges, the public and investorsTest your idea with judges, the public and investors


Open to all early-stage startups (startup idea, innovation, product, process or service) with at least one QUT founder (QUT student, alumni or staff).

How it works:

  1. 1. Submit your application to the QUT bluebox Challenge. Apply now
  2. 2. Five finalist will be selected into the QUT bluebox Challenge.

The five finalists:

  • a. will receive tailored workshops to equip them to best pitch their best pitch their startup.
  • b. will get the chance to test their startup with a crowd-vote and win cash.
  • c. may also have the opportunity to pitch in front of early-stage investors*.
  • d. will compete in a shark-tank style competition for additional cash funding at the QUT bluebox Challenge Gala.
  • Additionally, applicants who did not make the finals may still be eligible to receive in-kind services and receive an invitation to the Gala.
* Subject to investment readiness and decisions by the QUT Founders Fund and invited early stage investors.


Challenge pitching cash prize:

  • 1st prize — $50,000
  • 2nd prize — $35,000
  • Crowd Vote — $15,000
  • Best Student Startup — $10,000


  • $50,000 of in-kind professional services
  • $100,000 of startup accelerator program opportunities
  • $100,000 of potential co-investment from the QUT Founders Fund*
  • $100,000 of potential co-investment from invited early stage investors*
*Subject to investment readiness and decisions by the QUT Founders Fund and invited early stage investors.

Tickets to the Challenge Gala are now open! Reserve your seat to be part of the exhilarating shark-tank style pitch event that will see five innovative QUT startups pitch for their chance to win funding! Tickets are free but spots are limited.

Support your favourite startup as you get to vote on the night for your favourite!


Ben Bradshaw SponsoredLinX founder and CEO, 2017 Young Entrepreneur of the Year - Digital

Alex Dreiling Clipchamp founder and CEO, prior Challenge winner

Sarah Moran Girl Geek Academy founder and CEO, QUT Outstanding Alumni Award winner and Australian Women's Weekly Women of the Future 2018

Mike Zimmerman Partner, Main Sequence Ventures (CSIRO Innovation Fund)

2018 Challenge finalist

Frequently Asked Questions


Stage 1: Apply

Submit an online application by 31 August 2018. Apply now at .

Stage 2: Finalists announced

A judging panel will assess all the applications and select up to five finalists.

Finalists will need to prepare a 30 second speed pitch video outlining their innovation and how it could or is being progressed as a new venture. The speed pitch videos will be available for online crowd voting in the lead up to the full pitch event.

Finalists will also need to submit a slide deck for a five minute full pitch by 19 October 2018.

To help finalists prepare their speed pitch and full pitch, they will have access to pitching and investment workshops in the first half of October 2018.

Stage 3: The Pitch

Finalists will be offered an opportunity to give a 5 minute preview pitch to early stage investors in the second half of October 2018.

Each finalist must give a five minute full pitch before a judging panel and a live audience on Thursday 25 October 2018. These pitches will be delivered at QUT Gardens Point campus. The awards, including the crowd voting award, will be offered immediately following at an Awards Event.


This Challenge is open to all novel and commercially-relevant innovation, including products, processes or services, and business models, and associated ventures.

Applicants can be at any stage of development, from a new concept to a new venture formed less than three years before the time of application. Business plans are not required but we will ask for further details about your innovation and venture plans.

Applicants must confirm that the content of their innovation is owned by themselves and/or owned by QUT (or alternatively that they have the exclusive right to commercialise if the applicant is a company).


QUT bluebox Challenge is for individuals, teams and companies. Entrants can apply multiple times; as long as each application focuses on a different venture.

The Challenge is not open to visiting scholars or visiting researchers.

Individual applicants must be either a:

  • QUT student
  • QUT alumnus
  • QUT staff member
  • Team applicants, of up to four members, must include at least one actively participating member, who is either a:
  • QUT student
  • QUT alumnus
  • QUT staff member

The team will need to demonstrate that the one or more alumni/student/staff members are integral to the team have an ongoing involvement in taking the innovation forward as a new venture.

Company applicants must include at least one director and at least one shareholder, each of who is a:

  • QUT student
  • QUT alumnus
  • QUT staff member

Read the full terms and conditions here.


Submit your application online at

How do I find out more?

If you have any questions about your application contact us at

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Facebook: @qutbluebox

Twitter: @qutbluebox

LinkedIn: company/qutbluebox