Startup vs SME

Innovation and entrepreneurship specialist - Startup Gippsland

If you have a business idea which you’ve been sitting on for a while, it is time to give it the attention it deserves! 

Keeping this great idea buried away for a rainy day isn’t going to help you solve anyone’s problems, and it certainly isn’t going to help you in moving away from your current role. 

Before applying for the Startup Gippsland Incubator Program, it is first paramount to address the following question, “Do I qualify for this program?” 

Well, this is determined firstly by one key component: Are you a “startup”, or a “small or medium sized enterprise”? 

To establish where your business idea fits, take a look at the following information: 


A startup can be defined as a business with high impact potential, that is focussed on scaling into national and international markets. 

A startup business is focussed on the following goals or aspirations: 

  • To grow rapidly and dominate in a niche space
  • To enter the national or international market
  • To use technology to stand out within their industry
  • To be innovative and provide something outside of the “norms” of their industry

Small or Medium Sized Enterprise (SME): 

A SME is typically interested in providing a service or product to a smaller area, with the focus on sustainability. These are your typical “bricks and mortar” businesses. 

A SME business is focussed on the following factors: 

  • Using “tried and tested” products or services
  • To support a smaller community of individuals with a high value on face to face support
  • Technology and innovation is not the key priority
  • To create a sustainable and stable businesses

The type of business you seek to create will determine the specific actions and tools you implement in order to get there. 

If you feel as though you fit the Startup category, we would love to see you apply for our Incubator Program! Applications are open from 24 Feb to 12 April 2020. Apply here or if you’re still unsure about whether or not it’s for you, then join us at an information session to find out more. 

Ready to get involved as a Mentor, Sponsor, Partner or a Participant?

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Steph Thoo

Innovation and entrepreneurship specialist - Startup Gippsland

Steph is an innovation and entrepreneurship specialist with a passion for purpose. After receiving an MBA (First Class Honours) from the Melbourne Business School, she has built a strong and varied career - working as a Design Thinker in a social enterprise, a Project Lead in a not-for-profit skunk works, and as the head of a university pre-accelerator program. She has extensive experience across many facets of innovation - including Design Thinking and human centred design, Lean Start-up Methodology, Jobs to Be Done Theory, and Agile Methodology.

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Daley Thompson
Daley Thompson

Always providing great value content. Thanks, Steph!