The basics

What is Hot DesQ?

Hot DesQ is Australia’s first startup attraction program that offers everyone from early-stage and established startups, to successful Australian expats, the chance to base themselves in the Queensland startup community.

We are offering up to AUD$100,000 to add your startup smarts to our industry strengths so you can make all the right moves.

We want new entrepreneurial talent to come to Queensland and share knowledge, experience, ideas and give back to the local startup ecosystem.

Who can apply?

  • International or interstate startups/entrepreneurs that are committed to moving to Queensland (for at least 6 months) to work on their startup full-time
  • Startup teams up to 5 years old
  • Individual entrepreneurs looking for their next venture
  • Teams to have a maximum of 4 members (that will relocate to Queensland)
  • Applicants (and team members) must be aged 18 years or over
  • Applicants may not have existing team members based in Queensland

When can I apply?

Applications closed at midday (AEST) on 19 September 2018. Applications could be submitted at any stage during that period, but must've be finalised and submitted prior to the closing time. Please note that late applications will not be accepted.

Only one application per startup team can be submitted this Round.  

When do I move to Queensland?

Applications close at the end of September and we expect to announce winners by December 2018.

We know visas and moving can take time, but our cohort will need to arrive in Queensland from Monday 4 March 2019 - Sunday 10 March 2019.

How long does the Hot DesQ program last?

Nominated team members of the successful applicants will need to base themselves full time in Queensland for at least six months to develop their startup. Of course, we’d love you to stay a lot longer!


About the application

Applications are only accepted online.

The application process has three stages:

  1. Stage One – you need to complete an online form AND submit a 1-2 minute video pitch.
  2. Stage Two – your application will be assessed against the selection criteria by a panel of independent assessors.
  3. Stage Three – if you are shortlisted, you will have a video interview with the panel of independent judges.

What are the selection criteria?

The assessment process will consider:

  • startup background and/or entrepreneurial experience
  • stage of development
  • business model
  • global scalability
  • references from entrepreneurs, startup sector, customers
  • clarity of the startup idea and how it will be relevant to the marketplace
  • why you want to build your startup in Queensland
  • English language level
  • what you could teach our local startup community

 In particular, Round 3 of Hot DesQ is interested in attracting startups that will leverage off Queensland’s sectoral strengths and or with technology applications in:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Internet of Things (IOT)
  • Robotics
  • Augmented and/or Virtual Reality
  • Blockchain
  • Health and Medical technology
  • Agricultural technology
  • Resources and energy technology
  • Aviation and aerospace technology
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Tourism and Leisure technology

What needs to be in my pitch video?

The pitch video needs to be short – 2 minutes or less. In the video, you could consider some of the following questions:

  • Introduce yourself/the team relocating to Queensland, your background and experience
  • Why are you applying to Hot DesQ?
  • What problem are you solving?
  • What value will you add to the Queensland startup community?
  • What experience could you share with other entrepreneurs?

Think of it like your pitch to investors, but not as formal. It does not need to be professional quality – just on a phone is fine, as long as our judges can get some more information about you and your team and why you want to come to Queensland. 

We want to be as excited by your pitch video as you are to come to Queensland – so please take the time to film a new pitch video.

Do I need to be an existing startup?

Yes, however we’re keen to welcome a mix of early stage startups and experienced entrepreneurs to Queensland – check out the selection criteria for more information.

Hot DesQ is the right place for you if you’re:

  • an established startup that is looking to expand into the booming Asia-Pacific markets, expand your international presence, or test your product in the Australian market
  • a successful Aussie expat wanting to try your next venture or relocate your startup back home
  • an emerging startup team or entrepreneur with previous experience keen to be part of a vibrant and welcoming startup community, with a sensational lifestyle and growing market

Application process

Who reviews my application?

A panel of assessors and judges with business and investment expertise will review applications to determine the best startups to be offered a Hot DesQ place in Queensland.

Who has access to my application?

Hot DesQ assessors, judges and officials will review all applications. All documents will be kept completely confidential and only able to be accessed by assessors, judges and Departmental staff directly involved in delivering the program.

Will I be notified if I’m successful or not?

Every applicant will be officially notified, whether successful or not.

If your application is successful, you will receive an email outlining the next steps for the program, and contact details to engage directly with Hot DesQ staff.

Will I get any feedback if rejected?

No. Feedback is unable to be provided to all applicants.

The judging panel may provide feedback to those shortlisted applicants that participate in a skype interview, however that will be at the discretion of the panel.

If my application is not successful, what can I do?

If your application is not successful in the Round 3 program, you may apply again in future rounds. 

If my startup gets selected, what are the next steps?

If your application is shortlisted by the panel of judges, you will be contacted by email to arrange a video interview. You may also be asked to provide written answers to any further questions the judges may have.

Further information will be provided at the time if you are shortlisted to interview stage.

Let’s talk money

How does the funding work?

The judging panel have the discretion of awarding up to AUD$100,000 per successful startup. The judges will evaluate the applicant’s level of experience, talent, networks and potential of their startup, and then if shortlisted will allocate funding accordingly.

The minimum amount awarded will be AUD$50,000 through to AUD$100,000 to applicants that have high-levels of experience and skills, and evident potential to make a significant impact in Queensland.      

A guide for how the funding may be awarded is outlined in the below table

Criteria $50,000 $75,000 $100,000
Location and team 1-2 interstate 1-2 international
3+ interstate
3+ international
Traction MVP+ minimal traction In market with customers Scaling scales
Experience No accelerator or previous startup experience Some experience in accelerators or previous startups Extensive experience in accelerators, previous startups or multiple skills
Connections Single market connections Some multi-market connections Extensive multi-market connections
Innovation/benefit to Queensland

Some local competitors
Minimal direct benefit to QLD market

Connections to QLD market
Innovative product
Highly innovative product/no competitors
Extensive benefit to QLD
X-factor Judges discretion Judges discretion Judges discretion

When applying to Hot DesQ please consider that if shortlisted you may be awarded AUD$50,000. Only the top tier of applicants will be awarded the maximum amount.

All successful applicants will be embedded in a Host organisation and provided with free co-working (for up to 4 team members) for 6 months, plus access to mentors and connections in Queensland.

How do I get paid and when?

All payments will be made to the applicant organisation when it has been established in Queensland. Please note, all successful applicant organisations will need to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST), in order to receive any payments from the Queensland Government. Applicants must designate their main business location as Queensland (this applies to interstate recipients as well).  Please refer to this website for further information https://abr.gov.au.

Applicants must also provide evidence to the Hot DesQ team of their registered status as Director of the business established in Queensland in order to receive the first payment.

Your six month project term will commence from Monday 11 March 2019 and you will receive an initial payment of 25% of the total awarded funding amount. Please be aware that your first payment is subject to having an established ABN registered in Queensland and bank account – ensure you have enough cash flow arriving in Queensland to cover your first few weeks. You will then receive five monthly payments of 10% at the end of each month for the first five months of the project. At the end of the sixth month you will then receive your final milestone payment of 25% that will help you with further capital to continue to grow your business in Queensland. 

Program requirements

What does Hot DesQ expect from me?

Three things:

  • Get engaged! Through Network Points activity we want you to share your skills, experience and contacts with local Queensland startups
  • Grow your startup! Queensland’s vibrant and energetic startup community will help you do it
  • Mentor local startups – it is a requirement of the program that you mentor at least two Queensland startups throughout your participation in the program.

What are Network Points?

Hot DesQ Network Points are a proxy to measure your contribution to the Queensland startup ecosystem.

1000 Network Points are required to be earned over the 6 month duration of the program.

There are numerous activities that you can get involved in to earn your points. Activities range from engaging in social media, subscribing to industry newsletters, participating at a startup weekend, presenting at events, or delivering a lecture at a Queensland university. Different activities are worth different points. The point’s values reflect the effort and community value of the activity. So giving a lecture to students at University is worth more than blogging online.

You get to choose what you do, as long as you earn the minimum number of points per month (150) to stay on the program. Your Host will validate the activities for reporting.

You’ll be given the list of activities and the point’s values in your welcome pack when you arrive.

See the Hot DesQ Program Requirements for more information.

The Hosts

What is the role of the Host?

A network of Hosts has been established across Queensland and successful applicants will get to nominate their preferred Hosts with which to base their operations for the duration of the program. Please review your Hosts carefully before choosing and consider location and other information key to your particular startup. Should you be shortlisted, you will then be able to provide your preferences for your Host organisation and allocations will be confirmed. You can find more information about the Host organisations on the Why Queensland page.

Hosts will provide free co-working space, access to mentors, networks and other assistance. They will also provide landing support to help applicants settle quickly into life in Queensland.

Your Host will support you to get started on building your startup, and will also support you to make connections and be really active in the Queensland startup community and achieve your required level of Network Points through active involvement with local startups. The reason we want you to be an active member of the Queensland startup community is to connect with heaps of people in different places, and share your knowledge and skills with the locals.

Can I change Hosts once I get to Queensland?

No. We embed you with 1 ongoing Host to ensure you (and your team) get the best start and are able to settle quickly and focus on building your startup. We also need to ensure that each Host has the ability to give you the best experience and attention.


Who will help me before my arrival to Queensland?

If you are successful, the staff at Hot DesQ, your Host, and our Hot DesQ Partners will be able to help you with any questions you may have about relocation, and help facilitate your move and doing business in Queensland.

Can I get an advance on funding to pay for travel?

No, your first payment will be made once you have established in Queensland and have a current Australian Business Number. However, you are able to apply the grant retrospectively to cover expenses such as any cost to visas, relocation costs and establishment costs, but you will not receive your first payment until you arrive in your Host organisation. 

Will I need to register as a business in Queensland?

Yes. Successful applicants will need to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and be registered for GST in order to receive funding from the Queensland Government. Applicants should designate their main business location as Queensland.  Interstate Applicants will also need to ensure that a Queensland address is their main business location.
Further information can be found at: https://www.ato.gov.au/business/international-tax-for-business/foreign-residents-doing-business-in-australia 

What other support is available?

The Hot DesQ program has partnered with a number of organisations to help make your startup’s transition to Queensland as seamless and painless as possible.

Providing business support across a range of areas, our partners will have you settled and growing your business in Queensland in no time.

See the ‘Our Partners’ section on the home page for more information about the partners established for previous rounds. Additional Round 3 partners will be confirmed over the coming weeks and successful applicants will be given a Hot DesQ Partners Guide.


Do I get a visa through Hot DesQ?

An appropriate Australian visa will be required to participate in the program once notified of your success. 

Your Visa cannot be obtained through the Hot DesQ program and each recipient will need to apply for a visa directly through the Australian Government.

Before you apply to the Hot DesQ program, please review the visa options available for your entry into Australia to work/start a business, to ensure you are eligible. Information on visas can be found at: http://www.australia.gov.au/help-and-contact/faqs/visas-and-immigration

Can I be accepted in the program and get my visa rejected?

Your application for a visa must follow standard procedures through the Australian Government. If you are not successful in gaining an appropriate visa you will not be able to commence the Hot DesQ program.

We suggest that before you start your application that you review visa requirements in order to avoid any problems.

Other Details

Can I apply for other grants once I am in Queensland?

Yes. You can apply for other grants programs that you are eligible for while you’re here. Innovation and startups are receiving unrivalled support in Queensland right now, and there are a number of grants programs you may be able to apply for from both the Queensland Government’s, and the Australian Government.

For more information on the Queensland Government’s support programs for startups please visit: Advance Queensland.

Can I travel and work on my startup?

You are required to be based in Queensland for the duration of the program and working full-time on your startup. This doesn’t preclude you from short term travel to develop your startup, strengthen networks, and access customers and investors. However this should be on the basis that you are living in Queensland, your Host and the Hot DesQ team are aware of your travel and your startup is being developed here. 


Please make sure you read and understand the Hot DesQ Guidelines, Hot DesQ Terms and Conditions and Hot DesQ Program Requirements before applying.