Leicester Startups Accelerator: Next Cohort: 17th Sept – 13th Dec 2024

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 accelerator programme was built to help you grow your startup. We’ve pulled together a whole community of experienced founders and business experts into a high-tempo 12-week programme of mentorship, networking and motivation. We also provide free (top-tier) access to the Funding Hero platform.

“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.

Places are limited and subject to a selection process and eligibility criteria described below. We provide the programme free of charge but it’s also offered through a voluntary 2% equity share in your company. However, this is only negotiated on completion of the programme at the founder’s discretion. In other words, if we don’t deliver on our promise to turn your startup into an investable proposition, you’re not expected to release the equity.

We started our first programme in 2021 and it’s gone from strength-to-strengthen thanks to support from the LLEP’s Growth Hub, the British Business Bank and all 3 local Universities.

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

We’ll provide a selected cohort of founders with a structured 12-week programme of workshops, round tables, mentoring, free co-working space and full access to the Funding Hero platform All of this ensures a tailored mix of support to meet the unique need of each startup. We’ll help you focus on, and solve, the most critical challenges holding you back as you move through developing, shaping and scaling your business.

Throughout the programme, you’ll learn about:-      

  • Customer Development: Learn how to talk to customers in a way that reveals their true needs and validates your business model assumptions.
  • 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: Deploying 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 your product, target customers, and sell your unique value proposition.
  • Governance: Often ignored until the last minute or it’s too late!
  • Automating processes: Doing more with less
  • Intellectual property: Patents, designs, trademarks and copyright.
  • Equity & Fundraising: Learn about the different fundraising and partnering options and how to build a Pitch Deck.
  • Pitching essentials: 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 Monday 10:30am and 12pm, and the 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

The programme will be delivered through a hybrid mix of online and in-person sessions, and we encourage you to take full advantage of the free unlimited access to our co-working space. 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 capability to make frequent rapid changes to your product/service during the 12-weeks of the accelerator
  • Able to commit to a flexible programme involving 4 hours of attendance to workshops (online)  and roundtables (in-person) each week. We expect >80% attendance.
  • Based in the East Midlands with 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 thanks to Funding Hero and our Investor Engine. However, the programme also encourages applications by “bootstrap” model businesses that 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 1st September 2023

Apply Now

We will shortlist and interview eligible applicants and announce the successful participants by 12th September 2022.


Sponsors & Supporters

We’re delighted that the Leicester Startups Accelerator is being supported by British Business Bank and Funding Hero. The project was previously by LLEP (Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership) and supported by the University of Leicester and De Montfort University, LCB Depot (Leicester City Council) and CASE.