About Us

Ever had a potentially-scalable business idea or wanted to apply your existing skills to something innovative??

Leicester Startups was founded in 2013 by local entrepreneur Ben Ravilious to help existing and aspiring startup entrepreneurs find advice, mentorship and co-founders, not to mention the occasional shoulder to cry on! We do this by running and promoting engaging networking events, seminars, mentoring sessions and hackathons to bring the community closer together. We’re also working to encourage more flexible workspaces to help entrepreneurs meet and collaborate.

We’d especially like to hear from anyone who has the vision, enthusiasm or experience to run events that will help our community.

Our Ethos

Although we’re aimed at supporting innovative, scalable, technological or intellectual property based startups, conventional business services companies are very welcome to attend provide they don’t treat it as a sales opportunity. Read Is this for me? for a better explanation.

We preach “Give First”, which means trying to help entrepreneurs (and other community participants) with no immediate expectation of getting anything back. This pay-it-forward principle is what builds strong startup communities.


Leicester Startups was conceived on the hunch that Leicester is rich in the raw materials required for startup activity but lacks the support of a community to inspire and assist them.

In government and academic circles there is a lot of effort towards building “the knowledge economy”, “business clusters”, etc but the outcomes are often patchy, short-termist, stifling or just impenetrable to actual entrepreneurs.

Leicester Startups is inspired by Brad Feld’s ‘Boulder Thesis’ as described in his seminal book Startup Communities which is summarised as follows:-

  • Entrepreneurs lead a startup community while everyone else feeds the community
  • Feeders include the government, universities, investors, mentors, service providers and large companies
  • Continual activities and events are essential to engage all participants
  • Top-down government-driven clusters are an oxymoron
  • Building an entrepreneurial culture is critical

Here is Brad Feld explaning startup communities:-

For more background on the thinking behind Leicester Startups view an early blog post and also presentation slides (PDF) from our first Open Coffee meeting.

Joining forces to help entrepreneurs

Leicester Startups has joined forces with a range of organisations across the city to better help startups and entrepreneurs.  This partnership has been invaluable in helping Leicester Startups to grow its network..  Read more here about how we have been working together with Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership, University of Leicester, De Montfort University, and many other supporters and champions.

We’re always looking for supporters and sponsors to help us grow our community.
Get in touch if you think you can help.