Empowering the Illawarra’s fintech future

Empowering the Illawarra’s fintech future

iAccelerate and Scalapay launch a scholarship to support local entrepreneurs.

If anyone knows how much support early startups need, it’s another entrepreneur. Illawarra-born, globally-focused Scalapay, a leading Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) fintech startup, has just joined forces with the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) business incubator iAccelerate to announce the Scalapay Scale Up Scholarship – Supporting Illawarra Entrepreneurs Initiative.

This collaborative sponsorship worth $10,000 will allow up to three founders to receive funding for an iAccelerate residency and mentorship support for their venture. The initiative’s ultimate goal is to empower aspiring fintech founders and drive innovation in the Illawarra region.

“We are thrilled to partner with Scalapay to launch this transformative scholarship. It is a testament to iAccelerate’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurial growth and providing a nurturing environment for early-stage companies to flourish,” said Dr Tamantha Stutchbury, the Director of iAccelerate.

The scholarship will not only provide financial support but also offer invaluable resources, mentorship and access to a vibrant community of entrepreneurs at iAccelerate.

Scalapay was founded in 2019 by UOW engineering graduate Johnny Mitrevski and his friend, Simone Mancini, and has quickly become one of Europe’s most important payment companies. The company, which still operates from UOW Innovation Campus, employs 240 people across six countries, with a core tech team of 50 employees based in Wollongong.

In 2021, Scalapay was awarded the Startup of the Year in Italy and became the primary sponsor for Milan Fashion Week and X-Factor Italy. In 2022, after securing $692 million in a Series B financing round, the company achieved unicorn status, awarded to privately held startups valued at over US$1 billion.

Mitrevski, the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Scalapay, is a true believer in the potential of Wollongong as a hub for world-class technology and innovation.

“By collaborating with iAccelerate, a program that embodies the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, we aim to provide the necessary resources and opportunities for promising fintech startups to thrive. We firmly believe that Wollongong has the potential to become a vibrant centre for technological advancements.”

Since 2012, iAccelerate has been providing local entrepreneurs, startups, scale-ups, social enterprises and intrapreneurs with a comprehensive model of education, mentoring, seed funding and access to the University’s cutting-edge research resources. The purpose-built iAccelerate Centre is a dynamic hub, housing innovative minds and fostering an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Applications for the Scalapay Scale Up Scholarship – Supporting Illawarra Entrepreneurs Initiative have just opened. To be eligible, startups should be working on technology-related innovations in the software space and have a minimum viable product (MVP) already developed. The new cohort of entrepreneurs will start at iAccelerate on 2nd August 2023.