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UK Based Startup and Business Accelerators

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by Startacus Admin

You’ve come from concept to Startup – now what? Manage to magic business out of thin air and your startup is successful overnight? Lucky you! 

For the rest of us however – Startups take work, training and time in order to grow to the levels we need them to in order for them to be successful. Even Facebook had to learn to walk before it could run. There are a lot of ways to do this, Accelerators are one. These usuallyUK accelerators provide startups with capital, mentorship and certain other resources over a period of timefor various means of payment, often a single digit amount of equity. Calm the alarm bells though, it’s not a lifetime thing. Many accelerators only keep companies for a predetermined amount of time before the companies graduate onto other things.

With this in mind, the Startacus team have undertaken some research and tracked down a number of UK based accelerators that you could consider to help get your startup to the place you want it to be at.

Of course, business accelerators; just like businesses, don’t come with a set rulebook and recipe. Each one is different, with their own guidelines and criteria and they’re all generally quite fiercely competitive to get into. 

We’ve looked high and low to find some of the key accelerators in and around the UK; check them out below and hopefully, this will help you and your startup embark on the road to success!

TechStars is a programme which focuses on delivering intense mentor-driven growth potential to tech startups, and has one of the best track records of any accelerator. 90% of its total alumni are still active businesses thanks to its world-class mentorship and over $560,000,000 investment which has been accumulated over the years.

Propel Programme Propel Programme

Northern Ireland 
The Propel programme focuses on helping entrepreneurs with the greatest potential to set up and grow an innovative export based company that could develop into a significant exporter and employer.  With access to international markets and investors, up to £20K support, co-working spaces, workshops, and expert mentoring, it's definitely worth a look.

Oxygen Accelerator
Oxygen Accelerator

Birmingham and London
Suitable for any startup around the world, they specialise in tech and can even offer a company accommodation. Sometimes offer investment of up to £18,000 for 8% equity. Accepting 10 Teams per cycle, they have over 40 alumni, and successful applicants can avail of £500,000 worth of startup freebies. 


This annual 3-month programme is ideal for startups with a strong technology focus that have been running for around 24 months or less. It is an international programme which is equally open to Startups from the UK and around the world. It combines expert mentorship, a world-class educational programme, investment, and shared office space within a collaborative environment.  They also operate a unique 'Founders Fund' which involves participants investing a small amount of equity for shares in a fund formed for the benefit of all startups taking part. 



"An unusual combination of an accelerator and an investor, they offer advice and support throughout the whole of their startups' lifetime. SeedcampThey take tech companies, but focus mainly on European companies (sorry to our US readers). There are several types of deal terms available to startups that range from €0 for 3%, to €25k for 5%, and €50 for 10%. Impressively, over 86% of their startups go on to raise follow-on funding."

Distill Ventures
Distill Ventures
This one’s a bit different in that it’s an accelerator for people in the alcohol business. That’s right, they will take applicants from both a seed and growth platform to improve sales and marketing of your drink. They offer cash for Equity, depending on value, but the course fee overall would equate to around £45,000, but could come from investment of up to £175,000

Emerge EducationEmerge Education
Their course can run for 3 months and focuses on startups in the education industry. They cater for everything from initial ideas to early stage startups and can offer stipend to startups, to ensure success of the startup. Application is simply via an online form.

Startupbootcamp Fin TechStartup Bootcamp FinTech
Something a little more in the lines of financial services than booze marketing. They run a 3 month program which equates to around £15,000 investment and £450,000 of resources, for 8%. However the entry cutoff is 10 businesses at any one time.

Accelerator AcademyAccelerator Academy
An accelerator for tech, media and telecoms. They offer a 12 week course, to promote growth development and fundraising. In fact, they offer refunds to companies that manage to raise funds over certain lengths of time.

Bethnal Green Ventures

London Bethnal Green Ventures
Has your new tech got the ability to change the world? Do you want to use tech to change the world? This could be the accelerator that can help. Their primary criteria is an early stage with the goal/potential to help people around the world. Their program is 3 months and can provide up to £15,000 for up to 6% equity.

Barclays AcceleratorBarclays Accelerator
Offering a 15 week program, the bank offers up to $50,000 (usually significantly less) for 6% equity, but also has little limitations on size, but focuses on the technology industry


Entrepreneurial Spark

Accepting of applicants from the idea stage right through to the 4 year running mark, Their accelerator program usually begins with a 3-day bootcamp as well as a two tier process. They don’t provide investments, but they also don’t ask for equity in return. You can stay in their program potentially for up to 18 months.  They recently announced that they will be going national with some help from NatWest, so there is sure to be one near you!

Idea Alive
North West England (Liverpool/Manchester)Idea Alive

A part-time accelerator for businesses in the idea, seed or early stages, they don’t supply funding, but do provide help in formulating a business plan. Charge of £5000 or 1% is payable after your business has raised the funds.

Webstart Bristol
BristolWebstart Bristol
They take on 10 startups with links to Bristol during their programmes, and run 3 programs each year. The programs run for 10 weeks, and can help startups with £10,000 for 10% equity.

Ignite Accelerator Ignite Accelerator
Uk based Pre-Seed accelerator, with access to seed investors and a dedicated team of mentors to help a startup on their way. They can offer succesful applicants up to £18,000 for 8% equity in order to advance their business, as well as provide workspace and access to their incubator program

Dotforge Accelerator Dotforge
A 3 stage accelerator program with the goal of attracting startups worldwide to a nurturing environment, that can also provide successful applicants with pre-seed investment, mentorship and help in seeking investment. 

UP Accelerator UP Accelerator
The UP Programme offers time, space, expertise and funding to help you turn your idea into a vibrant, successful business. Further more, to grow your busienss, successful applicants can be awarded up to £25,000 to grow the business as well as placement for the business in an environment befitting the creative tech startups that UP caters to.

Note from Editor - This is by no stretch of the imagination an exhaustive list - in fact there are plenty of others across the UK.

If you know any or involved with any and would like to be featured on Startacus. Why not email us: [email protected] and we’ll see what we can do!

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Published on: 19th January 2015

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