Budding entrepreneurs are being encouraged to apply for this year’s pre-start Accelerator, following in the footsteps of several high-growth businesses now preparing to launch, as a result of last year’s Programme.
The inaugural intake saw 12 entrepreneurs sign up to the government-backed Programme, to support high-growth, pre-start businesses in Wales. The project has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. It aims to inject over £40m in to the Welsh economy over three years and is anticipated to create 200 jobs in the process.
As it prepares for its second year, the Programme looks to build on previous progress, where over half of the projected high-growth businesses are looking to launch within the next three months, garnering significant investment in the process.
The Pre-Start Accelerator is open to businesses across Wales that can outline an ambitious growth strategy, with the aim of creating at least 10 jobs and turning over £2m, in its first three years. Applicants will also be assisted in identifying opportunities in international markets, with the aim of generating 30% of their revenue through export.
The 12 week Pre-start Business Accelerator is delivered through Welsh ICE, Wales’ largest innovation centre and co-working space, in partnership with the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
Businesses accepted onto the Programme, will receive a range of exclusive and bespoke support services, including access to a network of investors and needs analysis driven masterclasses and workshops, from some of the most experienced and successful business specialists in Wales.
Gerry Hallett, AGP Programme Manager stated
“AGP values its relationship with key delivery partners, in Wales' growing and diverse economy and has a long standing relationship with Welsh ICE. We are keen to support this initiative, as a means of identifying and supporting the “pre-start” segment of the economy, to help develop new, fresh, creative, high value and high growth businesses across Wales.”
Mandy Weston, COO at Welsh ICE said
“Gaining entry to the Accelerator Programme is tough and proving that you are capable of creating a minimum of 10 jobs and turning over £2m, in your first three years, is no mean feat. However, twelve companies made the cut last year and over half will have launched, in the next three months, with the others looking to launch in 2017.
“The Programme has made a very promising start and shows how, with the right idea, motivation and support, pre-start companies can progress toward bigger things. We would encourage anyone who feels they have a burgeoning desire to start a business to get in touch and talk to us.
“With our 5-9 clubs, ICE50 and Accelerator Programme, we have the infrastructure to support businesses of all shapes, sizes and ambitions; from individual freelancers, to fast growing disruptors. It’s written on our wall at ICE that ‘small is the seed of greatness’, and we fully believe in that ethos; the smallest idea can turn into the brightest of futures.”
One of the businesses to benefit from the Accelerator is Gemma Hallett, founder of career-matching app for school leavers, miFuture. Gemma said the greatest benefit she received from the Programme was access to the right people at the right time.
“Starting a business can be very daunting, especially when you set yourself such ambitious targets. However, the programme provided me with the support I needed to get miFuture off the ground; introducing me to the experts I needed, when I needed them. Be that developers, business planners or finance experts; once I needed specific support, I was introduced to the appropriate person.
“miFuture, in a nutshell is Tinder for careers, matching qualifications, experience and hobbies with job specifications and recruiters. Users are matched to opportunities that fit their career options and can swipe left to apply and right to ignore, helping make job searching more applicable and engaging. We aim to be the UK’s first swipe and apply career app when we launch nationally early next year, after having our soft launch back in September.”