Charge Up Challenge

Step up, dive in, and take your business to the next level – improve the now, innovate tomorrow and challenge the future.

Charge up Challenge logo

Applications now open

Applications close on Sunday 27 March 2022.

This 10-week program is funded by the City of Sydney and presented by Mo Works. The Charge Up Challenge is free, tailored to selected participants and designed to charge up business growth strategies.

Adapting business to thrive in disruptive times

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on our local economy with the retail, hospitality and tourism sectors hardest hit by the lockdowns. We want to build the capacity and resilience of local businesses for a stronger future.

In 2019 we launched our first retail innovation program. Over 3 years we funded 55 local retail and hospitality businesses to participate in the intensive 10-week business accelerator program. This year we invite a new group of retail, hospitality and tourism businesses to take the challenge with an expanded program.

Improving the now, innovating tomorrow and challenging the future

The Charge Up Challenge is a free 10-week program designed to accelerate business innovation and digital transformation.

Challenging conditions, new innovations, and a competitive landscape demands fresh thinking to achieve continuous growth in business. We’re looking for motivated, committed and ambitious business owners who are ready to take their business to the next level.

Learn from innovation and entrepreneurial leaders and experts. Challenge the way you look at your business. Explore opportunities to embrace some of the latest trends.

If you can commit the time, energy and are eager for support, actionable strategies and business mentoring, apply now. We look forward to supporting your the next chapter of your business.

Find out more


  1. Independent and small-to-medium-sized businesses (less than 200 employees) in retail, food and beverage or tourism sectors. For example, retailers in fashion, furniture, design, art, hair salons, cafes, bars and restaurants, tourism providers or tour operators.
  2. Both bricks and mortar stores and online retail sites are encouraged to apply. For example, online businesses committed to establishing pop up opportunities or bricks and mortar operations in the City of Sydney local area.
  3. Businesses in the City of Sydney local area with a minimum 2 years operating experience, and currently at the growth/scale-up stage.

    Businesses that meet the above criteria and represent diverse gender and cultural backgrounds are highly encouraged to apply.

We're also looking for the following:

  • Focused on the future of your industry and excited about the opportunities ahead.
  • Searching for innovative tools, information and technology to grow your business.
  • Bringing consciousness around sustainability practices into your business.

Program details

This program will take place over 10 weeks from April to June 2022.

In the program, participants will attend 3 one-day in-person sessions. This includes 6 hands-on workshops (choose from 9 options), 3 online check-in group sessions, and the final program graduation session.

Participants will receive 10 hours of tailored one-to-one coaching, business auditing, discovery and planning sessions. Choose 2 out of 7 business audit options relevant to your business needs.

The principles presented in the program will be applied to your business through take-home assignments and supported by one-to-one business consultation and audits.

The topics covered in the program include:

  • from offline to online
  • marketing and business tools
  • customer experience and opportunities
  • inclusive branding and multicultural marketing
  • sales strategy
  • ideas validation
  • risk management
  • networking
  • stakeholder and innovation strategy.

Participants will share their learning journey through digital and social channels, providing insights into how their business has approached innovation and benefited from the program.

The program graduates will join an alumni network offering peer support as ambassadors for change.

Workshop locations in central Sydney are to be confirmed.

Key dates

Applications open – 21 February

Applications close – 27 March

Places awarded – 25 March

Program starts – 4 April

Program ends – 8 June

Application process

Complete the online application by Sunday 27 March. Each applicant will be interviewed to assess suitability for the program.

The award of a place in the program covers the program fees for each participating business.

If you need assistance with your application, contact Anitra Morgana, [email protected].

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Inside a retail shop

Charge Up Challenge info session

Designed to charge up your business through innovation and digital transformation.