Founder Catalyst is a continuously-running capability-building programme from the Ministry of Awesome with four cohorts per year. Each cohort is six months long, and to be accepted, a startup founder must apply, interview, and be invited to join. The criteria for a company to be considered for eventual participation is listed below:


  • Has a working minimum viable product (MVP)
  • Has an innovative, scalable solution and/or business model
  • Has early signs of market validation in at least one market
  • Has a founding team who possesses the technical or “hard” skills to tackle this particular problem
  • Preferably has at least two founding team members with at least one full-time


  • Has ambition to solve a globally relevant problem with a globally relevant solution
  • Has potential for solution to be scalable on a global stage
  • Has a draft plan of expanding into a second market


  • Has a founding team who will (a) be open to learning; (b) collaborate with their cohort, MoA, and the Startup Mentors; (c) hold themselves accountable to goals, metrics, and the programme schedule and requirements; (d) strive for world-class excellence
  • Is committed to working on the problem for the long-term
  • Has a founding team that will agree to MoA’s Code of Conduct


  • Preferably has not achieved more than NZ$500k in annual revenue
  • Preferably has not raised more than NZ$1M

Still have questions? Check out our frequently asked questions.


This is the opportunity to upskill yourself and level up your company, no matter where you are in your journey. Come join us.  

Not quite ready to join Founder Catalyst? 

Check out Startup Aotearoa - a FREE one-on-one startup coaching service.

Regardless of business stage, industry, or location, Startup Aotearoa supports budding entrepreneurs to build their capabilities and turn their ideas into thriving startups.