KPMG Australia has launched the second generation of its Energise programme, one of the largest energy and natural resources startup accelerators in the Asia-Pacific region.

Building on the success of the 2015 program which saw A$650,000 of pilot projects and capital delivered to eight Australian startups, Energise 2.0 aims to bring breakthrough innovations to the Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) sector by connecting the most innovative startups with forward thinking industry leaders.

The 12-week accelerator is designed to foster collaboration and co-creation between startups and top tier ENR sector corporates, and help to deliver step change improvements in cost, productivity, social, environmental and safety performance.

“The Energy and Natural Resources sector plays a key role in not just driving Australia’s economy, but also as a driver of innovation,” said Gary Smith, KPMG’s WA chairman.

“Startups bring new ideas and technology, and deliver much-needed solutions to underpin the ENR sector’s competitiveness in an increasingly global marketplace.  KPMG’s aim is to fuse these two capabilities.

“By bringing a new and enhanced version of the Energise accelerator to market, we hope to play a role in enhancing creative innovation within one of Australia’s most important industries – and help build a generation of global leading technology companies in Perth and Brisbane,” he said.

Corporate participants so far in this year’s accelerator include Woodside Energy, Wesfarmers Chemicals Energy & Fertilisers, and South32. They will complete a new corporate curriculum specially developed following the 2015 Energise programme to help large organisations maximise the benefits of collaborating with startups.

Shaun Gregory, Woodside’s senior VP and chief technology officer, said that the programme is important for the development of new ideas.

“We’re pleased to once again participate in the KPMG Energise programme. We believe collaborative innovation is the key to future growth. Through our FutureLab programme, we’re growing a community of exceptional thinkers and innovators that can work shoulder to shoulder with us to accelerate growth. Our vision is that this dynamic network will create a world-class legacy of technological excellence in Western Australia,” Mr Gregory said.

Doug Bester, CEO of Sentient Computing, a startup who participated in last year’s programme said they were already seeing the benefits.

“We have significantly improved our net profit, secured major contracts with global oil and gas companies and added four people to the team. Being involved in the program has given us credibility, opened doors for us and made selling into the resource sector giants much more accessible.”

Unlike many early-stage startup accelerators, Energise does not ask startup participants for equity. Rather it focuses on creating collaboration opportunities for later-stage startups that have already secured existing seed funding and have commercially proven solutions. Startup companies should also be prepared to attend sessions and events in either Brisbane or Perth.

James Mabbott, head of KPMG Innovate, said that Energise is a hybrid startup accelerator and corporate innovation programme.

“It forms part of KPMG Australia’s innovation experience beside similar programs like KPMG mLabs and the elevate61 programme. We are excited to be supporting the growth of new Australian tech companies, and helping them support the ENR sector – which remains a major strength of our national economy,”Mr Mabbott said.

The Energise ENR accelerator runs from late 2016 to early 2017 with a six-week break over December and January. Startup companies are now invited to apply for the programme.