This October saw the launch of Accelerate, a brand-new six-month accelerator led by Leeds Beckett University and funded by its partner AD:VENTURE – a scheme working to connect universities, local councils, chambers and private sector businesses in the Leeds City Region (LCR).
The programme gives companies access a vast and diverse array of support in a succinct, structured way, taking each business on a growth journey to equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to lead achieve positive, sustainable growth.
With four workshops interspersed with one-to-one mentoring, specialist coaching, and round-the-clock support, Accelerate covers everything from sales, HR and business planning to growth strategy and exit.
But this is no ‘one size fits all’. Every programme is tailored to match the businesses’ unique needs and ambitions, with Deb Hetherington, Innovation Manager at Leeds Beckett University, key account managing each one to ensure they get the right support for them.
This unique approach makes the programme bespoke, with tailored programmes of workshops, mentoring, opportunities for student placements and consultancy projects designed on a case-by-case basis after a one-to-one diagnostic process with Deb.
Accelerate has secured three years’ worth of funding, and in that time, it hopes to put nine cohorts of 10 companies through the programme. The businesses will have ongoing relationships with the university when their six months are up, as well as access to legal advice and a funding matrix to map their next step.
To be eligible for Accelerate, you must be less than three years limited, based in the LCR and work in the B2B space. A large part of the programme’s wider ambition is around enabling the University to offer student placements in high-growth businesses, so the team is on the lookout for companies with genuine potential to develop – fast.
Accelerate is all about connecting up a rich tapestry of individuals and institutions to create real, tangible benefits for the whole LCR, with a bold target of getting between 90 and 100 businesses to the point where they can hire someone – all over the course of six months. The underlying goal is, of course, to increase businesses’ turnover, resulting in more jobs and economic improvement for the whole region.
With the first cohort already full and a growing waiting list for the second, Accelerate has had keen interest so far – often from start-ups that have the passion, the creativity and the concept, but might lack some of the business acumen to take their business to the next level. That’s where Accelerate come in, armed with knowledge of business, growth and sales strategies and ready to upskill the next generation.
So how to get involved? Email Deb Hetherington directly at D.J.Hetherington@leedsbeckett.ac.uk, or hit up the AD:VENTURE team at firstname.lastname@example.org. After that, the process is fast and straightforward – an eligibility form and a meeting with Deb, followed by an evaluation process and a yes or no within a week.
To find out more, head to the Accelerate page on the Leeds Beckett website.
Photograph by Mark Wheelwright.