If you’re an early-stage business looking to grow in line with your business plan, there’s likely a Business Accelerator somewhere in the UK for you to take advantage of.
In this article, we explain what Business Accelerators are, and 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, and to make a return on its investment.
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 a Business Accelerator pumps in to programme participants depends on the individual Accelerator and the business in question. As a result, the amount of investment can vary greatly.
That’s why it’s advisable to do your research. If you’re interested in applying to join a Business Accelerator programme, make sure you’re comfortable with the amount of investment being offered and the equity share you’d be expected to part with.
How long do Business Accelerator programmes last?
Generally, Business Accelerator programmes last between three and six months but 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 lots of different services. Alongside potential investment, possible exposure to investors and the use of co-working space, these services include the following:
- Support from mentors, other programme participants and the Accelerator's wider network – and this doesn’t stop suddenly once the programme ends
- Opportunity to develop your skills by working alongside businesses at a similar stage of development and 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.