What is an Accelerator?
Accelerators support firms through the early stages of development – helping them to learn from the experience of others, and giving them the boost that they need to grow and prosper. Accelerators come in all shapes and sizes, but are generally characterised by:
- An application process that is highly selective;
- Provision of intensive support over a limited period of time (typically 3 months but some are as little as 1 week and others as long as 9 months);
- A cohort-based programme (meaning several ventures are brought together and treated as one group for the duration of the programme);
- Access to seed funding – often provided in return for equity;
- Usually targeted at start-ups that are past the early stages of getting established.
Do Accelerators work?
The Accelerator market has grown significantly in recent years and there have been some spectacular success stories (e.g. Dropbox, Airbnb & Reddit). Although a significant number of Accelerated businesses do not set the world alight, they do have a higher chance of growing quickly than non-accelerated companies.
What is Spark Accelerator?
Spark Accelerator is an Accelerator with a mission to drive innovation and enterprise in the Greater Lincolnshire region. Spark Accelerator, a University of Lincoln initiative, helps innovative start-ups to refine their concepts, gain traction, and build scalable businesses.
Spark Accelerator does not take an equity stake in the companies that are supported. Instead, the key long-term goal is to help businesses to grow and to make a positive contribution to the economy faster than otherwise.
What can I expect from Spark Accelerator?
Each Spark Accelerator programme provides a package of funding, mentor-led guidance and access to people willing to share knowledge, contacts and experience. Businesses accepted onto a programme can expect to:
- Learn strategies to drive success and avoid failure;
- Receive mentoring and advice from industry experts;
- Access the resources of the University;
- Develop connections with like-minded entrepreneurs;
- Learn the art of presenting and articulating a business idea;
- Make a pitch for seed funding – with the best receiving cash awards and support to fuel further growth.
Our support does not stop at the end of the programme. We continue to take an interest in, and to promote the business once the programme has ended.
What does Spark Accelerator cost?
Spark Accelerator is currently a free-of-charge programme. The only cost to participants is time and a desire to improve their business. Businesses that join are expected to:
- Attend all training, coaching and mentoring sessions;
- Take full advantage of the networking opportunities on offer;
- Engage and interact with the other businesses in the cohort;
- Put time and effort into the development of the business.
What type of people can join Spark Accelerator?
If you answer ‘Yes’ to these questions, then we want to hear from you!
- Is your businesses Innovative? E.g. using new technology to address an opportunity?
- Is your business in the start-up or early growth phase?
- Do you want to turn your idea into a successful, for-profit business?
- Do you have the ambition and skills to execute your idea?
- Can you commit to the Accelerator programme (typically part-time for about 8 weeks but this varies from programme to programme)?
- Is your business run from the UK and do you have the right to work in the UK?
How do I apply?
The application form, and details of which programmes are available is available via the website: SparkAccelerator.co.uk
Please note that each Spark Accelerator programme has a specific focus, for instance, Digital Innovation or Agri-Technology. This allows content, consultants, mentors and networking to be tailored around one interest area; maximising relevance and impact for the participants.
Helping innovative businesses to develop and thrive
Got a question? Get in touch with Rebecca Webster: 01522 837 200
Or send an email via the contact form on the website: SparkAccelerator.co.uk