Democracy works best when people step up and speak out.

So it is a problem that on many of the big, often emerging issues, Australians lack ways to get involved to match their interests, identity, demographics and commitment.

We need a new generation of nimble, courageous social movement organisations to tackle ‘edge issues’ our existing civil society doesn’t – and to do so innovative ways.



Progress Labs is Australia’s dedicated social movement incubator.

A partnership between Australian Progress and the Australian Council of Social Service, we will support 2-4 new movements per year over the next decade.

This means 20+ powerful new organisations mobilising millions and millions of Australians and winning hundreds of campaigns for a fairer and more forward-looking Australia.

How we help


The structure and support you need to go from passion to real-world organisation making change.


Be paired with an outstanding creative agency (pro-bono), who can lend strategic advice, kickstart your brand identity, and help with early campaigns.


Spend your first months co-located in our space.  We also help with legal and accounting, so you can focus on campaigning and fundraising.


Get connected with a who’s who of relevant partners and allies across civil society, social business and philanthropy.


It all kicks off with two weeks of strategy development, training, team-building and business planning.


Join a powerful network to share learning, collaborate around joint priorities, and leverage resources.


Yes, please send me the application kit with info on how to apply!

Keep me in the loop about Australian Progress

Frequently Asked Questions

Energetic social leaders with a vision to create a movement to engage and mobilise Australians around an issue or identity. You can be any age, but you've almost certainly some previous experience running or working on a social cause. You're ready to jump into any task, resilient to setbacks, and low on ego.
We are very open-minded and keen to learn about new areas that need more citizen action! That said we'd be especially excited to hear from you if you're working on economic issues, or with Indigenous Australians or new immigrant communities.
Yes, we have a bias for founders who have already got some runs on the board - an early test campaign, fundraising success etc. We also expect some applicants will represent existing campaigning organisations keen to revisit their strategy & communications, and re-launch.
Ideally, projects will have existing funding or could work with us to raise basic funds in the period between application & selection, and the intensive kick-off weeks. We believe it is easier to raise funds than to identify amazing, driven leaders. Therefore, even if you have no funds we encourage you to apply. If you're selected, it's because we think seed funds can be found, somewhere.
The residential, co-location and program will be based in Sydney or Melbourne, depending on the preference of selected founders of the projects each year. If you live in another city (and are not able to move to Melbourne or Sydney), it is unlikely to work out this year - sorry!
In most cases, no. This said, before accepting applicants with existing funding, we may seek to broker a reasonable agreement to recover some costs.
Progress Labs is run by Australian Progress, a national organisation dedicated to building the advocacy capacity of Australian civil society. We also run Australia's largest social movement training program (Progress Fellowship) and key progressive conferences (Progress, FWD, Leadership, and Organise). Our funding comes from event and training income, as well as an Inner Circle of forward-looking organisations: ActionAid, Community and Public Sector Union, GetUp, National Union of Workers (Victoria), and Oxfam Australia.
If you have a concrete idea for, and want to run, a new social movement organisation or major campaign - Progress Labs is for you! If on the other hand, you work with an existing campaign or organisation and are looking to build your skills and network with others - you're better suited to join our awesome Fellowship.
We'd absolutely love to hear from you. Please email


Here's a few organisations we've previously helped get off the ground. 

Common Grace


Common Grace is a movement of over 19,000 Australian Christians who are passionate about social justice.

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Fair Agenda


Fair Agenda is a movement of 35,000 Australians campaigning for a fair and equal future for women.

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The Parenthood


A community of mums and dads working together to create positive change for kids.

View More

When it happens next

Australian Progress is currently accepting expressions of interest from projects interested in being part of Progress Labs’ next cohort starting in early 2018.  If you’re interested, please get in touch (the earlier the better)!