Spark Festival 2019: Expression of Interest (EOI)

Keen to run an event on this year's program? Please take a look at the toolkit below and then submit your EOI here before May 31.

This year's festival will run from October 10-27.

Spark Festival is an opportunity for anyone and everyone in the startup and innovation ecosystem to share their knowledge and expertise, to grow and strengthen their networks, to showcase their work, celebrate their successes and invite newcomers. All the events on the 17 day program will be run by the people and organisations that make up the community: startups, coworking spaces, accelerators and incubators, universities, government, corporates and all the other supporting organisations.

If you're not familiar with Spark Festival, take a look at last year's program to get an idea of the kind of thing we include, check out the EOI Toolkit below, and get that EOI in before May 31!

EOI Toolkit

Please take a look at the below before you submit your EOI and get in touch if you still have questions: we are here to help make your event a success!

What is Spark Festival?

Spark Festival is Australia’s largest event connecting startups, innovators and entrepreneurs, to grow the digital economy. What makes Spark Festival unique is that it is created directly by the startup and innovation community, for the startup and innovation community. Every year, hundreds of people and organisations from across the ecosystem produce and host the events that become the Spark Festival program.

What are this year’s key dates? When does this EOI end? When is the festival?

  • April 08: EOI opens
  • May 31: EOI closes
  • June 17: All successful event applicants informed and requested to confirm their involvement
  • July 01: All event confirmations must be submitted
  • August 12: All event program details submitted
  • September 09: Spark Festival 2019 program launches
  • October 10-27: Spark Festival 2019

Who can run an event on the Spark Festival program?


If you’re keen to help create an amazing festival that represents the whole startup, innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, then we’d love you to submit an event proposal.

In previous years we’ve had events from coworking spaces, accelerators and incubators, from startups, from all sorts of enterprises that support and educate the startup ecosystem. It really is a very open platform that welcomes anyone looking to share knowledge and build a stronger smarter and more connected ecosystem for all of us.

What kinds of event are suitable for the Spark Festival program?

Spark Festival is a celebration of startups, innovation and entrepreneurship: It’s a very big umbrella! Please do take a close look at questions 15 thru 17 on the call for submissions to see the kinds of topics and themes we are expecting to cover.

The kinds of events that end up on the program are only limited by your imagination: We include panels, parties, showcases, keynotes, networking events, speed dating sessions, pitch nights, workshops, conferences, hackathons, launches, the whole gamut!

Why should I get involved?


Grow your community by attracting a new audience to your event who might not otherwise find out about your organisation and work.


Put your corner of the ecosystem on the map and show the world what you’ve been achieving.


Connect in with all the other people and organisations who are committed to growing a vibrant environment for startups and entrepreneurship in NSW.


At Spark Festival we believe in building a homegrown startup ecosystem right here in Australia, shaped by the particular opportunities and challenges of this environment. While our outlook might be global, we don’t set about to recreate “things that happen overseas”.

But having said all that, we have always been inspired by the words of Brad Feld, one of the absolute legends behind the incredible startup community in Boulder, Colorado:

“Building a startup community is not a zero-sum game in which there are winners and losers: if everyone engages they, and the entire community can all be winners.”

Does it cost anything to run an event?

After Spark Festival 2018 we surveyed event organisers and explored some proposals for making the festival more sustainable, and increasing its profile in the wider community. The proposal which overwhelmingly received the highest level of support (94/100) was to charge a small fee to event organisers.

With that in mind, this year for the first time we will be asking for a small marketing contribution for events listed on the Spark Festival program. This fee will go directly toward the marketing budget of the festival.

The fee structure per event will be:

  • Corporates: $1000
  • Universities: $500
  • Government: $500
  • Startup ecosystem support (coworking spaces, incubators and accelerators, VCs, SMEs supporting the ecosystem such as accounting and law firms, commercial events): $250
  • Startups: Free
  • Not for profits & non-commercial organisations such as meetups: Free

Please note we will be asking for this fee not at the time of your EOI submission, but at the time of event confirmation.

Spark Festival is a massive undertaking that has always been run extremely leanly. That’s not going to change. However, this marketing contribution will allow us to expand the reach of the festival even further and help to find new audiences for all of us.

Do I need to charge for my Spark Festival event?

We strongly recommend charging at least a small fee, in the order of $10-20.

The purpose of this fee is to ensure that those who register do in fact attend. Otherwise the risk is, especially in the context of a multi-day, multi-event festival, that attendees register for many events and then actually show up to very few of them.

We think it is much better for planning and marketing if you have a strong sense of how many committed attendees have registered at any given time.

We understand that for some organisations, charging for attendance is simply not an option, so, as above, this is only a recommendation, not a rule :)

What ticketing platform does Spark Festival use?

For this year’s festival we will be recommending that people use Humanitix, the first not-for-profit ticketing platform which directs 100% of profits from booking fees to education projects that help disadvantaged children. Additionally, Humanitix is a local startup, and offering much of the functionality of Eventbrite, for lower fees: we think that’s a pretty compelling case!

Having said that, we understand that particularly if you are an organisation that runs a lot of events throughout the year, changing your ticketing platform for this Spark Festival event may be a stumbling block. So, while we strongly encourage checking out Humanitix’s offering, we will still also be able to seamlessly embed Eventbrite ticketing pages at the Spark Festival site.

Lastly, on a case by case basis, we can also include events that use neither Humanitix or Eventbrite. It’s just that in this case your registration form will not be directly embedded at the Spark Festival site, we will simply send people to your separate registration page and away from the Spark Festival site. We prefer not to do this but are able to make exceptions at our discretion.

Do I need to have a venue?

Most Spark Festival event organisers are able to arrange their own venue. However if you’ve got a great idea for an event, but no venue, please do submit it anyways: We will do our best to connect an awesome event with a venue in our network.

Where can my event be held?

Anywhere in NSW!

What’s the selection process?

Submissions will be assessed by the Spark Festival Programming Committee. Preference will be given to events whose organisers demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment by filling out the Expression of Interest thoughtfully and in detail :)

Please don’t forget that Spark Festival is all about the give back: We’re doing this to share our knowledge, create connections and build a stronger ecosystem. With this in mind, events that are simply a pitch of your product or service will not be considered for the program.