Business Think Tank

VTIC is pleased to launch the Business Think Tank program, as part of a wider industry development program that has been supported by the Victorian Government through the Business Chambers and Trader Groups Program.

VTIC’s Business Think Tank Program is a tourism specific business incubator that will help operators emerge from the challenges caused by COVID-19, to enhance new ideas and grow.

Whatever our world looks like on the other end of this current global pandemic, we must acknowledge that things will not just simply ‘go back to what it was before.’ The world will be changed by the current course of events and the way consumers engage with tourism products, services and destinations will be different. The Business Think Tank program will equip participants with a plan moving forward using skills which can be applied and reapplied into the future.

Delivered in collaboration with Runway, this program is part of their Get Ready, Get Set, Grow series, designed to develop business growth strategies. The program will be divided into two stages:

  1. Diagnosis – Using Runway’s business diagnostic tool, participants will complete a health check of their internal business and explore the external environments to understand gaps and opportunities.
  2. Ideation – Using Runway’s established analysis and ideation processes, participants will work towards developing their own business growth and pivot opportunities.

Read more about Runway’s programs methodology below.

“I could probably sum up the Runway program from my point of view as intense, inspiring, thought provoking and the best learning experience I have had in my working life. It was an extremely unique experience where we were exposed to so many different businesses, business models and technologies.”


“The combination of the program’s structure and the experiential learning provided the optimum learning environment.”


This program is designed for business owners who are impacted by COVID-19 and are seeking support to grow and pivot their business in a new direction.

The program is free of charge to successful applicants (value of $2,000) but limited to 18 businesses only. Participants will be divided into 2 groups of 9. Based on demand, we may extend the program into another round of session.



The program will be delivered via a combination of online content and activity, followed by a live session with all participants in the group where findings, challenges and opportunities will be shared. Participants will be divided into two groups.

The online live sessions will happen across two weeks, with one day between the sessions to allow participants to complete the work required. They will be split as:

Week 1: Evaluate

Week 2: Ideation


2 February Applications open
25 February (extended from 17 Feb) Applications close
1-2 March Successful businesses notified

16 March, 1-3pm Session 1
18 March, 1-2pm Session 2
22 March, 1-3pm Session 3
24 March, 1-3pm Session 4
26 March, 1-2pm Session 5

20 April, 1-3pm Session 1
22 April, 1-2pm Session 2
26 April, 1-3pm Session 3
28 April, 1-3pm Session 4
30 April, 1-2pm Session 5


Please complete the below form by Thursday 25 February, 12pm.

Applications are now closed.



RunwayHQ (Runway) is a not-for-profit organisation that exists to build a stronger economy and community by helping entrepreneurs to be successful. Runway provides direct assistance to people wanting to start a new business or grow an existing one, as well as the innovation ecosystem support required for entrepreneurial communities to flourish.

Runway was first incorporated in Geelong in 2015 and in Ballarat in 2017, and has since proven its capability accelerating the development of innovation ecosystems and entrepreneurial success stories in regional Victoria. It has been a resounding success creating ecosystems (where there were none) and making a substantial contribution to the country’s emerging innovation and digital culture.

Runway is recognised as a top 10 regional accelerator nationally and has been commended by LaunchVic for its policy of equality, collaborative culture and open engagement for all entrepreneurs.

Runway’s Methodology

Runway’s programs integrate imperatives for impact with imperatives for businesses to change; helping to move businesses from ‘awareness of the need to change’, to seeking the knowledge and skill required, and then the application of this skill to create impact.

This approach is distinctly different to the many existing workshops and programs that largely just impart knowledge. It is the application of knowledge that builds experience creating a useful skill; and it is through the process of testing and experimenting with these skills in the real world that businesspeople build capability enabling real and lasting impact.

While knowledge is an important intellectual foundation enabling the development of skills, it is the application of skill to practical tasks that builds the all-important capability required to create a value.

Runway’s programs are specifically designed to create impact and build new business capability through experiential learning – applying new knowledge and skills to real challenges and opportunities in an environment that is well supported. This creates immediate value for businesses by ensuring their applied learning is directly targeted to meet challenges and opportunities they are confronting in the real world right now.

Read more about Runway.


Assisting Runway in this program:

Karen Oliver
Karen is a Tourism Consultant specialised in regional tourism development. Karen has extensive experience working with tourism operators, local government, regional tourism boards and state government to improve outcomes for the industry and visitors.

Working with Murray Regional Tourism and Grampians Tourism, she has supported 60+ tourism businesses to complete their Victorian and NSW Tourism Awards submissions.

Karen’s knowledge of the tourism industry stems from previous roles at Tourism Victoria, where she worked as a Market Analyst and Regional Marketing Coordinator. She has also worked as an Accreditation Officer for the Australian Tourism Accreditation Program (now, the Quality Tourism Accreditation Program), visiting tourism businesses and Visitor Information Centres around Victoria for their accreditation site visits.

Prior to starting her own business, her professional experience includes 10 years in the market research industry. Her market research and corporate background gives all of her work a strong analytical foundation and her strategic approach to problem solving.

Karen was also one of the Consultants for VTIC’s Tourism Recovery Consultations program.

Find out more about Karen here.

In partnership with: