About Uptown Accelerator
The Uptown Accelerator is a capability and connection-building program for District Teams across Greater Sydney. The series of workshops and mentoring culminates with the Uptown District Showcase where Districts can pitch their vision to potential partners and collaborators.
Held for the first time in 2022, 30 District Teams participated in the Uptown Accelerator, with 23 participating in the Uptown District Showcase, from which 372 connections were made between Districts and potential partners.
The Uptown Accelerator for 2023 will run from 21 August to 13 October, and has been refined with learnings from 2022. Topics scheduled for inclusion in the workshop series are:
- District visioning
- Pitching skills
- Digital marketing
- Grant writing
- Attracting sponsors and partners
Applications for the Uptown Accelerator closed on 20 July 2023.
See Admission Guidelines (PDF 1.19MB) and below see FAQs.
Uptown Accelerator FAQs
These FAQs are intended to supplement the information provided in the Uptown Accelerator Admission Guidelines (PDF 1.19MB). Please read the Admission Guidelines before applying.
A district is a geographically distinct area (e.g., a high street or block of streets) that has a unique identity and diverse cultural and entertainment offerings across multiple venues within walking distance. A district is not an entire suburb.
A District Team must include three or more local businesses, social enterprises and/or arts and cultural organisations that are aligned under a unified identity with the purpose of engaging residents and visitors. District Team members may come from various sectors such as accommodation, arts and culture, tourism, hospitality, live performance, retail and sport.
There is no limit to how large a Team can be, however, for the practical purpose of the Uptown Accelerator, it is worth noting there are attendance expectations which are detailed in the Admission Guidelines.
All Team members must participate in the visioning workshop in person, and at least two Team members must attend all other sessions.
Even if your organisation is not located in a particular district, you can still join a District Team that already has at least three members located in the district. Collaboration is not limited to geography, but you should consider whether your vision aligns with the local businesses and what you can contribute to the Team.
Alternatively, even if you are not formally part of a District Team, you could be a potential collaborator, partner or sponsor for a district.
Yes, Uptown can still help established districts to expand and further build their capacity and connections.
The NSW Government’s current Sydney 24-Hour Economy Strategy is limited to Greater Sydney only. For a list of eligible LGAs, refer to the Uptown Admission Guidelines.
The Accelerator can host 25 Teams. Read the Admission Guidelines for further information on how applications will be competitively assessed.
The majority of the councils we surveyed identified that better collaboration between businesses would make the biggest difference to achieving a successful 24-hour economy in their area. Uptown aims to do this.
Benefits to councils of District Teams participating are likely to include:
- building a strong and engaged business community
- new marketing and attraction opportunities for your LGA
- improved resident amenity
Even though councils cannot participate as a District Team member, we encourage councils to work closely with and support districts in their development.
There are a number of ways councils can champion and promote the Uptown Accelerator, including:
- Identify suitable local districts and encourage them to apply
- Connect individual businesses and business groups together
- Share the opportunity with businesses and/or business groups
- Host events to connect local businesses and educate groups about the benefits of Uptown and how to apply
- Make available a key contact point within council to support local districts
- Provide guidance to District Teams for their application and/or letters of support
We welcome council representatives to contact the Office of the 24-Hour Economy Commissioner via email@example.com for more information on how councils can get involved in supporting the program in their local area.
Applications need to be submitted by a Team comprising three or more members from different organisations. Each Team application must therefore include at least three different ABNs.
The Lead applicant in your Team may apply using the ABN of a district entity or business chamber. At least two other Team members should indicate what organisation they represent with a different ABN.
You can engage with other businesses by contacting your local council for connections, doorknocking businesses in your area, emailing or phoning them to get involved.
If you would like your details to be shared with potential collaborators, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
We encourage as many businesses in a local area to engage with each other and apply as a Team. However, an application won’t be deemed ineligible just because another Team from the same area has applied separately – we will help to facilitate the combining of those applications if it makes sense to do so.
As indicated in the Admission Guidelines, by submitting an application, the Lead applicant agrees to be contacted by the Office of the 24-Hour Economy Commissioner about their application, including the potential for additional members to join the Team.
If the geographical boundaries of the district proposed in your application overlaps with another application, the Office of the 24-Hour Economy Commissioner will contact the Lead applicant in those applications to assist the Teams to combine if appropriate.
The District Showcase is an opportunity to pitch your district vision at scale to a diverse audience of organisations (such as brands, tourism promotion agencies, festivals, tech companies etc.) that may be interested in sponsoring or partnering with your district to attract visitation. How your district engages with potential partners and collaborators is entirely up to your Team. The event is ultimately an opportunity to pitch and connect. Watch the video recap of last year’s District Showcase here:
If you would like to make minor amendments to an existing application, please email us at email@example.com before the deadline and we will amend the application on your behalf. Minor amendments may include correcting typos, updating contact details, and adding new members to your existing Team. You must provide all mandatory information required in the application form for the amendment to be made.
For major amendments, such as deleting a Team member or changing the Lead applicant, you will need to submit a new application for consideration.
Funding for Stage 2 of the Uptown Program is subject to the NSW Budget which is due to be delivered in September 2023. Any announcement on Stage 2 funding will be after that.
Grant funding for Stage 2 of the Uptown Program is currently not confirmed. Accelerator participants will be notified if funding will be available in late 2023 after announcement of the NSW budget.
Teams or team members who participated in the Uptown Accelerator in 2022 are not precluded from participating again in 2023. All applications will be assessed on merit and eligibility in accordance with the Uptown Accelerator Admission Guidelines 2023.
Uptown Grant 2022-2023 funded districts are not precluded from participating in the Uptown Accelerator 2023. All applications will be assessed on merit and eligibility in accordance with the Uptown Accelerator Admission Guidelines 2023.
Uptown Grant Program
In March 2023, 21 districts successfully applied to receive up to $200,000 each in seed funding under the Uptown Grant Program.
Applications closed on 9 March 2023.
Download profiles of all 21 districts (PDF 7.73MB) receiving 2023 funding in the Uptown Grant Program.
For more information, see About Uptown Grant Program.
For further information or clarification, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org