Closed Last updated: 04 May, 2018

Applications are now closed.

VicHealth is looking for clever ideas to get more Victorians physically active. We are challenging you to lead community sport in a new direction.

What's the challenge?

Less than a third of us get enough physical activity every day. At VicHealth, we know how valuable sport is to get us moving toward better health and wellbeing. 

This is why VicHealth is providing funding through the Innovation Challenge: Sport to get more Victorians off the couch and playing more sport more often, with a focus on those with low physical activity levels. 

VicHealth is helping sporting bodies in partnership with innovators to test new ideas, concepts and innovations that tackle obstacles often blocking people from playing sport.  This time around there are three key focus areas for the Challenge:

1. More flexible and fun sport

It can be tricky fitting sport into our busy lifestyles and not everyone wants to compete at a club. Can sports become more fun and flexible for people?  For example: casual sport-based fitness activities for the time poor or more fun, less competitive versions of sport for people looking to socialise with friends.

2. More places to play

Sometimes people want to play but have nowhere to go.  Can you find new places to play sport or change the way sporting venues are used in the community?  For example: developing modified sport offerings for parks or beaches as well as improving access to existing sport venues via technological solutions or creative use of existing space to get more people playing.

3. More sport for everyone 

It’s often our groups experiencing higher levels of disadvantage who find themselves sitting on the sidelines. Can sport become an easy option for them to get them playing? For example: engaging new partners to create more welcoming environments at clubs or taking sport to community groups to improve opportunities to play.

What is on offer?

The most promising ideas will share in a total funding pool of up to $450,000 to test new ideas and make a real impact over an 18 month project timeline.

Funding amounts for Challenge vary between $60,000 to $120,000, based on project needs and context.

Expert support is also provided to help project groups obtain market insights and to develop key business strategies, particularly to unlock the longer-term sustainability of projects.

In addition, all project groups will be involved in regular sharing sessions to increase network support.


Who can get involved?

We are inviting sporting bodies from across the sport sector to rise to the Challenge.

Examples of organisations eligible for funding include; national sporting organisations, state sporting associations, disability state sporting bodies, regional sporting assemblies, local sporting clubs/associations, elite sporting teams; as well as Victorian local councils.

VicHealth will also accept submissions from a sporting body working in partnership with an innovator. You're an innovator if you like challenging the status quo and taking action when you see an opportunity emerge. You might be a social entrepreneur, a community organisation, a private provider or a digital expert.

Please note that we only accept submissions from sporting bodies directly. However we will accept submissions from a sporting body working in partnership with an innovator.


What will VicHealth not fund?

VicHealth will not fund the following:

  • a sporting organisation who has not acquitted all requirements of any previous grants awarded under VicHealth funding (to the satisfaction of VicHealth)
  • a sporting organisation who will not  commit to achieving and/or maintaining a minimum of 40% female representation on their sporting organisation’s Board by July 2019 (applies to SSAs, NSOs, RSAs and elite sporting teams only)
  • a sporting organisation where the program/activity involves striking or kicking another individual with intent to injure and the head is target. We will not support a program/activity that directly feeds into a participation pathway where the intention is to deliberately injure or inflict harm on another individual.
  • activities delivered outside of Victoria
  • programs delivered in schools during school hours, including those funded through the Australian Sports Commission’s Sporting Schools. Promotional activities in schools to engage young people may be included as part of a marketing strategy, however the actual program delivery must be outside of school hours.


When do I submit my video pitch?

VicHealth will accept submissions between Tuesday 3 April 2018 to Friday 4 May 2018 until 3pm Eastern Standard Time. 

Our learnings so far

Since 2014-15, VicHealth has launched five rounds of Challenge funding, supporting 29 pilot projects and gaining lots of valuable insights along the way.

Our evaluations so far have identified a number of critical learnings to help current and future projects seeking to achieve market success.

Click to here to find out more. 
Assessment View more

There are four key stages for applicants.




Stage 1

Video pitch submission

  • Applicants will be asked to submit an idea consisting of an online application form and 90 second video pitch.
  • Videos will be reviewed by a VicHealth shortlisting committee.
  • If deemed highly promising, the applicant will be invited to particpate in stage 2 as a Finalist.

Stage 2

Concept development

  • Finalists will attend an ideation workshop at VicHealth to develop their idea further.
  • Finalists will submit a formal proposal capturing a high level theory of change with projected impact.
  • All those who participate in stage 2 will progress to stage 3.

Stage 3

Assessment Panel

  • Finalists will pitch their idea and field questions from a panel of industry experts.
  • The panel will assess the merits of the proposal and determine how best to allocate the available pool of funding.

Stage 4

Contracting of winners

  • Winners will be notified and asked to confirm their outcomes, objectives, deliverables and associated work plans based on approved budget milestones, outcome, key objectives, and sustainability approach based on approved amounts – to be incorporated into contracts.
  • VicHealth will announce winners in July 2018.


What criteria will my idea be judged on?

The Challenge will apply the following selection criteria to all proposals throughout the entire process.

Criteria 1: Alignment

Show how you can support strategy alignment among your key sport stakeholders – for example NSOs, elite teams, SSAs, RSAs, local clubs and other organisations as appropriate – to build strong supportive partnerships.

We expect you to tell us:

  • Who are your key partners within your sport?
  • How will you show alignment of key partner plans? E.g. identifying cross-over between current strategic plans; supplying letters of support; seek shared contracting arrangements or co-investment plans with partners; or actively support the Challenge process together; (i) the video pitch; (ii) the ideation workshop; (iii) the Assessment Panel; and importantly (iv) project planning/delivery.
  • Who will own the intellectual property being developed/used? 

Criteria 2: Innovation

Show how you’re applying innovation (new or creative thinking) to take community sport in a new direction. For example testing new ideas, methods or partnerships that link to improving participation levels of less actives.

We expect you to tell us:

  • Can you clearly describe why your application is innovative in comparison to other approaches in the market? E.g. a new idea; new partnership; new process; and/or new audience.
  • Does your approach put your target participant at the centre of the design and is your approach supported by evidence? E.g. includes evidence of key barriers your target market experiences stopping them from playing sport.
  • Can your approach be tested with low cost/time/effort to generate participation quickly? E.g. testing participation within the first six months of funding.
  • If successful, can your approach be scaled to increase impact post-funding? E.g. scaled to more locations or new audiences. 

Criteria 3: Impact

Show how less active Victorians will be engaged in your sport, as well as projecting:

  • participant numbers
  • number of regular participation opportunities created.

We expect you to tell us:

  • Can you define your target participant who is inactive/somewhat active Victorians?
  • Can you define what your regular participation opportunities look like? E.g. 8 x 1 hour sessions delivered weekly within Council-owned parks, involving no uniform, no equipment and including ice-breaker activities to build strong social connections.
  • Can you project the number of participants increasing physical activity levels and the number of regular participation opportunities you will create during the project?
  • Do you have a realistic plan to achieve your projected project impact? For example: we will pilot with 3 local clubs initially with a view to testing with 6 more within the first 12 months. 

Criteria 4: Organisational Capability

Show how the funded sporting organisation can deliver the proposed project outputs and achieve success.

We expect you to tell us:

  • Do you have a defined project lead and plan to adequately support project delivery within your organisation or your partner organisations?
  • Can you define your capability gaps that need addressing (via funding and partnering) to achieve success? E.g. partnering with social entrepreneurs to explore sustainability strategy.
  • Do you have strong support from your CEO/Board to deliver this approach?
  • Can you define your delivery network to support participation opportunities for less active Victorians as well as the channels you will use to connect with them? E.g. we will recruit sport development students to deliver our offering and connect with them through our existing TAFE/University relationships.


Key dates View more

When do I submit my video pitch?

VicHealth will accept submissions between Tuesday 3 April 2018 and Friday 4 May 2018 until 3pm Eastern Standard Time. 



Call for video pitches opens

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Call for video pitches closes

3pm, Friday 4 May 2018

Notification of finalists

Friday 11 May 2018

Ideation workshop

Thursday 17 May 2018 

Proposal submission closes 

Thursday 31 May 2018

Assessment Panel

Thursday 14 June 2018

Notification of winners

Friday 29 June 2018

Contracting and commencement

July 2018 - date to be confirmed

 Announcement of winners July 2018 - date to be confirmed 


Submit your idea View more

Applications are now closed. 


Alongside an online application form, we invite you to provide a 90-second video pitch as your initial submission. It's easy- just talk to a camera. You can even record yourself on your smart phone!

Please note that VicHealth will be assessing the quality of the idea, not the quality of the video footage. We do not expect you to develop professional quality videos. Make it cheap and cheerful.

90 seconds is not a long time, so you will need to make it tight and get straight to the point. You've got to be able to communicate your project quickly and clearly. Think of VicHealth as a potential investor. A clear, passionate pitch can get you a kick-start. A poor one can mean you’re forgotten.

Check out some video pitches from 2014

When scripting your pitch consider the overall goal of the Challenge, the three focus areas (must address one only) and assessment criteria, in particular:

Challenge goal

  • How will your idea get inactive or somewhat active Victorians playing more sport more often?

Focus areas (must address one only)

  • How will your idea enable sport to become more fun and flexible for people?
  • How will your idea activate new places to play sport or change how sporting venues are used?
  • How will your idea support people experiencing higher levels of disadvantage to get off the sidelines?

Assessment criteria

  • How will your idea support sport sector alignment?
  • Why would you call your idea innovative? …how is your idea different from other approaches?
  • How are you utilising consumer insights in a clever and creative way?
  • Do you have a well-developed, realistic plan to execute your idea and create a sustainable/scalable model?
  • What is the single, clear, compelling message that states why your idea is worth funding?
Learn more about research and trends in sport View more
 Link Information
Innovation Challenge: Sport – Our learnings so far Since 2014-15, VicHealth has launched five rounds of the Challenge funding, supporting 29 pilot projects and gaining lots of valuable learnings along the way. Our evaluation so far has identified a number of critical learnings for current and future projects seeking to achieve market success.
Insights for engaging Victorians in physical activity This research explores the attitudes and barriers to physical activity for Victorians at each life stages, and considers what would motivate them to change their existing behaviours. These stages are youth, young adults, parents, adults without children and retirees.
Picture of participation in organised community sport in Victoria This research outlines participation rates and trends by age group and geographical area, highlighting key insights and recommendations to inform decision-making and investments by state sporting associations, clubs and associations, policymakers and funders of sport participation and future research.   11 major Victorian state sporting associations are represented – including; Australian football, basketball, bowls, cricket, football (soccer), golf, gymnastics, hockey, netball, sailing and tennis. 
Forward Thinking Series
Vicsport is partnering with VicHealth to present a series of innovative workshops and other development opportunities to build industry capability to respond to the rapidly changing business of community sport and get more people active through sport. The Forward Thinking Series will bring together leaders from the fields of sport and physical activity to promote a culture of innovation that’s responsive to market insights and embraces new partnerships toward adopting emerging thinking in response to sport sector challenges. 
Play. Sport. Australia.
Play.Sport.Australia. is the Australian Sport Commission’s (ASC) participation game plan and sets out a big picture vision for boosting participation in sport in the years ahead. Play.Sport.Australia. paints a compelling picture of how sport has changed in the last decade and plots the opportunities the Australian sports sector must embrace and maximise in the years ahead. 
Market segmentation for sport participation study
This needs-based consumer centric market segmentation model for Australian sports participants (players) and non-sports participants (non-players) offers insights into the needs and wants of the Australian consumer as it relates to sport and physical activity participation. It identifies a significant number of Australians who view and engage with sport quite differently, particularly in terms of how they want to play sport. 
The Future of Australian Sport Report
This report identifies a range of influencing factors including a complex mix of generational, demographic and cultural change. The report highlights six sports megatrends that may redefine the sport sector over the next 30 years.

Previous winning ideas View more

Check out our full list of Innovation Challenge: Sport winners from 2015 through to 2017. 

What if I still have questions?

Check out the Frequently Asked Questions.

Otherwise please contact us at

We will review every email and respond as soon as possible. Also we’re happy to give you a call if you’d like to leave your phone number - sometimes it’s just easier having a chat!