How useful are accelerator schemes for start-up businesses?

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Accelerator schemes can be a great way to fast-track a start-up business. Typically they will invest funds, provide contacts, expert advice and usually workspace. They will take a small amount of equity in your business in exchange. The culmination of the scheme is typically a pitching event, where you pitch to potential investors.

Accelerator schemes should be considered before approaching people like Angel Investors or Venture Capitalists.

There are a huge amount of accelerator schemes available and they differ dramatically. Some, like Bethnal Green Ventures focus on social enterprises that use tech for good. Others like Wayra focus on companies who aim to introduce technology to a global markets. You need to find the most relevant scheme for your business or you will be giving away equity for nothing and wasting your precious time.

Thoroughly research accelerator schemes and make a short list of the most relevant ones. The application process tends to be very time-consuming and you should only apply if you genuinely feel you are well suited. Get in touch with their alumni and see how beneficial the scheme was for them. See who their biggest success story has been and ask them how much they’ve helped start-ups in your sector.

All accelerator schemes are looking for scalable businesses that could penetrate global marketplaces. Try to develop a simple concept and strategy to market, which you can convey with passion in your application. Always make sure you know what you will get out of the scheme before committing to it.

Here are some prominent accelerator schemes or funding opportunities:

Wayra– Want start-ups who use technology to solve global problems.

Unltd– Want social entrepreneurs.

Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund– Brings social investors together with social enterprises looking to grow.

Healthbox– Grow healthcare companies.

Big Issue Invest– Invest in social enterprises.

Solve– Public Service Launchpad accelerator.

Eco-Machines Accelerator Scheme– High growth hardware businesses who focus on energy efficiency, water, waste, materials, transport, smart cities, industrials or power generation.

Social Investment Business– Local impact funds for charities and social enterprises in local community.

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Written by Martin Stocks | @Stocks1986

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