What is a Business Accelerator?

Are you an early- stage business looking to grow?

If so, there's likely a Business Accelerator somewhere in the UK for you to take advantage of.

In this article, we explain:

  • What is a Business Accelerator
  • The types of training, support, and services their programmes provide

What is a Business Accelerator?

Business Accelerators support early-stage and start-up businesses through investment, short-term mentoring and training.

A Business Accelerator's long-term goals are to:

  • help the businesses it supports to grow and become profitable quickly
  • make a return on its investment (ROI)

What training and support do Business Accelerators provide?

Business Accelerators all offer slightly different support and training opportunities.

However, they tend to follow a similar format and structure.

Alongside equity investment, an Accelerator will typically provide access to things like:

  • a location or office for your business to use as a base throughout the programme
  • experienced mentors to aid your development
  • their network of contacts

How much do Business Accelerators invest?

The amount of equity investment on offer can vary greatly between different Business Accelerators.

That's why you should do your research.

If you're interested in applying to join a Business Accelerator programme, make sure you're comfortable with:

How long do Business Accelerator programmes last?

Generally, Business Accelerator programmes last between 3 and 6 months.

Some look to support participants for up to 12 months.

Again, it depends on the programme.

What services do Business Accelerator programmes offer to businesses?

Accelerator programmes provide:

  • potential investment
  • possible exposure to investors
  • the use of co-working spaces

However, they provide lots of other services too. These include the following:

  • Support from:
    • mentors
    • other programme participants
    • the Accelerator's wider network
  • Opportunity to develop your skills by working:
    • alongside businesses at a similar stage of development
    • under the guidance of experienced business professionals
  • Exposure to potential customers and investors
  • Intensive learning over a short period — Accelerators cram a lot of learning into a relatively short space of time, giving access to ideas and opportunities that could otherwise take years to acquire

While some businesses will thrive from being involved in an Accelerator, this isn't the case for all participants.

Whether it's right for you depends on your business, your aims and the Accelerator in which you're enrolling.

What types of Business Accelerator programmes are available in the UK?

In the UK, Business Accelerators range from privately run schemes to government-funded programmes to corporate-backed schemes.

Most Accelerators — particularly privately-backed ones — accept all types of businesses, regardless of sector or region.

However, some specialise in and focus on specific areas.

For example, there are Business Accelerators whose programmes only accept tech companies, while corporate-backed schemes may be more interested in businesses that benefit their broader corporate needs.

Likewise, government-backed schemes typically focus on businesses that will help achieve their wider policy aims.

If you decide that a Business Accelerator suits your business, it's important to research your options and make sure you apply to a programme that's right for you.

Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

Making business finance work for you

Our Making business finance work for you guide is designed to help you make an informed choice about accessing the right type of finance for you and your business.

Read the guide to making business finance work for you

Your previously read articles