My experience at MAP

Abi Ward
Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP)
3 min readFeb 11, 2022


I’m not really ashamed to admit that only a few months ago, I hardly knew what a startup was, let alone what an accelerator program was. So it was a great surprise when on 16 August 2021, I was assigned to the Melbourne Accelerator Program by Students@Work at the University of Melbourne after applying for their mid-year internship program, hoping for some much-needed work experience. I assisted mainly behind the scenes in data management and helped to streamline processes.

It was the first time I had heard about startups in any major way, but by the end of my internship, I had learnt so much about the ecosystem. The team were incredibly accepting and my overall experience was wonderful. One of the best perks of the job was getting to be a fly on the wall in all major events, hosted by the Melbourne Entrepreneurial Centre (MEC) for the MAP and TRAM (Translating Research at Melbourne) programs.

MAP Demo Day, TRAMaganza and the Fireside Chat with Dr Adam Bumpus from RedGrid were some of the many ways for me to get a glimpse into this incredible world of business and creativity. Even with the limitations of a global pandemic, that did not stop these virtual events from being so illuminating (thank you, to the fantastic networking platform, Gather Town)! Even just a casual chat with a friendly face at the office one day was a learning experience (thank you Lex from Deckle)!

It was at these events that I got to see the sheer variety of startups both MAP and TRAM have helped to nurture. The founders behind the companies and the vast array of ideas being cultivated by the teams were fascinating. The networking sessions were by far the most valuable experience I had; being able to meet people from all walks of life and hearing about the unique ambitions they are aspiring to bring to life with the help of these accelerators, is magical.

All of these incredible experiences built up to the one in-person event and the last event I attended, the second MAP Velocity Showcase of 2021. It was at this event that I was able to sit and talk face-to-face with the people I had only seen and heard through a screen for all those weeks (thanks to Ged from Sussed — and all the best with your project)! It was an incredible evening to see founders pitching live on stage.

Due to the time of year when I was undertaking my internship, I had started just as the MAP program was coming to an end. It was a surreal experience to witness the “final results”: the celebrations, payoffs and to hear about the progress or journey the founders had made through conversations, or the spreadsheets I was busy organising. It was like opening a book on the final chapter.

However, I must stress this did not take away from my experience, it was great to see the culmination of everything these founders had achieved, knowing the many steps along their journey it had taken to bring their ideas to fruition.

Although my time in the world of startups was rather brief, I still feel that I’ve learnt so much in this short space of time. I would not trade a second of my experience for anything else. If fate decides I get to visit this world again, I’d embrace that opportunity with open arms.

I would like to give a big thanks to the entire MEC team (with special thanks to Andy and Laxmi for being amazing supervisors) for being so welcoming, accepting, and just making my time so wonderful for the short time I knew y’all.

I wish all the people I got to meet, especially the founders, all the best, and I hope your ideas can bear a bountiful harvest. It’d be great to see your companies as household names someday.

By MAP Intern, Ethan Chau