Leicester Startups Accelerator: Next Cohort: 11th October – 8th December 2023

Being a startup founder can be daunting, especially if it’s an ambitious and innovative business idea, but it doesn’t have to be…

Leicester Startups presents a brand new accelerator programme to help you grow your startup. We’ve pulled together a whole community of experienced founders and business experts into a high-tempo six-week programme of mentorship, networking and motivation.

“It takes a city to raise a startup”

Whether you want to get investor ready, grow sales faster or just learn what your customers really need, we can help you. Previous participants have raised investments and you can view our last Demo Day here.

The programme is funded through the LLEP’s Growth Hub and is completely free with no equity taken. Places are limited though and subject to a selection process and eligibility criteria described below.

Our Team & Community

Leicester Startups has been helping founders of local start-ups since 2013 through events, networking and mentoring.

Our team are hugely experienced at listening to startups and making great introductions and recommendations.

this is backed up by an amazing list of mentors and experts available to help you free of charge. these include experienced serial entrepreneurs through to legal experts, coders, designers and investors.

You’ll get full access to them as well as recommended books, blogs and other resources via our community Help Engine.

The Programme

Through the LS Accelerator we’ll provide a selected cohort of founders (including first-time entrepreneurs) a structured 6-week programme of workshops, round tables, mentoring and free co-working space. The programme is a mix of 1-2-1 mentoring, classroom learning and independent working, tailored to your start-up’s unique needs. We’ll help you focus on, and solve, the most critical challenges holding you back as you move through developing, shaping and validating your business.

Throughout the programme you’ll learn about:-

  • Lean experimentation:  The Lean startup approach provides the tools to build, test and learn
  • Customer Development: Learn how to talk to prospective customers in a way that reveals their true needs and validates your business model assumptions.
  • User experience (UX) design: The process design teams use to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users.
  • Revenue modelling and pricing: Build a framework for how a business can generate income.
  • Business Growth/marketing/hacking: Learn some of the best strategies to grow your business, including a few organic and viral growth hacking mechanisms.
  • Financial management: Deplying the right tech at the right time
  • Lead generation: The process of filling your sales funnel with people who are interested in your business
  • Sales process: Learn how to position you product, target customers, and sell your unique value proposition.
  • Governance: Often ignored until the last minute or its too late!
  • Automation: Doing more with less
  • Intellectual property: Patents, designs, trademark and copyright.
  • Equity & Fundraising: Learn about the different fundraising and partnering options and how to build a Pitch Deck.
  • Pitching: Opportunity to practise and refine your pitch with real investors
  • Demo Day: Present your pitch to a panel of experienced investors and seasoned entrepreneurs.

Workshops take place every Tuesday and Thursday between 9:30am and 11am. Round tables occur every Friday between 1pm and 2:30pm, The rest of the time is available for connections to mentors and product/service development. Please ensure you’re able to attend these sessions before applying.


Venue & Virtual

All of the workshops will be delivered online, however, all particpants will be given free unlimited access to our co-working space and be encouraged to use it as often as possible. All the workshops will also be recorded.


Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for our accelerator you must fit the following criteria:-

  • Working on a start-up with an innovative, scalable business model (please note this programme is not suitable for freelance, consultancy, agency or lifestyle businesses)
  • A working prototype (or “Minimum Viable Product”) product/service, preferably with active users.
  • Have the in-house capability to make frequent rapid changes to your product/service during the six weeks of the accelerator
  • Able to commit to a six-week flexible programme with ~6 hours attendance to sessions each week
  • Based in Leicester or Leicestershire (ideally a registered company)
  • Willing to share the warts-and-all progress of your business with a private group of fellow founders

Most accelerators focus on making start-ups investment-ready and this will be one of the main aims for our programme with investment advisors available. However, the programme also encourages applications by “bootstrap” model businesses who are purely seeking growth rather than investment.

We believe diversity makes for more successful startups and warmly welcome applicants from all backgrounds.

If you’re not sure whether this is for you or would like further information please do drop us an email at accelerator@leicesterstartups.com, or contact Sam Larke on 07794 601005.


Application Process

To apply, please click on the application questionnaire link below and complete your response by 5pm on 19th September 2022

Apply Now

We will shortlist and interview eligible applicants and announce the successful participants by 30th September 2022.


Sponsors & Supporters

We’re delighted that the Leicester Startups Accelerator is being supported by British Business Bank and is made possible thanks to the Leicester Startup Co-working Project. The project is funded by LLEP (Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership), and led by the University of Leicester and De Montfort University, LCB Depot (Leicester City Council) and CASE.