I attended a LaunchPad event last week hosted by The Imperial College Business School in London. The event was aimed at budding entrepreneurs seeking to explore some of the UK’s most successful start-up support organisations. These organisations provide anything from office space, mentoring and finance and are fast becoming a popular choice for start-ups seeking to rapidly grow their businesses.
But with so much choice, it’s hard to identify the most suitable hub for your business needs, so I broke down a list of incubators that might appeal to you for different reasons:
Telefónica’s startup accelerator Wayra helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses on a program that offers funding of up to $50,000, office space, mentors, business partners and access to a global network of talent.
They have academies in 12 countries including Spain, Germany, Brazil and China and their affiliation with Telefónica Open Future gives entrepreneurs a greater chance of networking and collaborating with like-minded individuals. You do however have to give away some equity of your business with Wayra so weigh it up against your business needs.
This is an interesting one. BBC Labs aims to find start-ups that BBC Worldwide can work with on a commercial partnership. Unlike Wayra, businesses on the program don’t receive funding, but over a six-month period, they get access to office space and an opportunity to work directly with the BBC execs.
The main thing to consider with BBC Labs is that your business idea has to have a strong connection with a BBC Worldwide department – either in a collaborative way or with some sort of similarity. If your business doesn’t fit this criteria, you won’t be accepted onto the program.
Bathtub2Boardroom has two commercial spaces – one in the City of London and the other in East London. Their business model is based on a monthly payment subscription which enables access to desk space, free internet, mentors and social events such as their monthly Tub Talks. The great thing about this incubator is that your start-up can get involved at any level of progress – right from the incorporation stage.
Although there’s a membership fee involved, for anyone with a recent history of unemployment, they offer a Bathtub Bursary that can lower costs and also provide discounted rates to charities.
Based in Canary Wharf, Level 39 has quickly become an important part of Tech City London having hosted over 200 events, including hackathons, skunkworks and demo-days. Opened by Boris Johnson in 2013, members of the incubator are based in the same room as experienced entrepreneurs, technology investors and industry experts in order to accelerate their traction and gain access to their markets. Members of Level39 can work from drop-in space, hot-desks, fixed-desks and private office spaces.
Level39 is a generally a space for early-stage businesses that have potential for high-growth. Although the accelerator does not take equity, companies hoping to join the scheme should have a working prototype of the business or you probably won’t be accepted for application.
SeedCamp offers a program called Pre-Seed for start-ups, mentors and investors. The Pre-Seed terms are based on two options – a 3% option which allows you to get the benefits of their programme for 3% equity of your business and the 7% option which provides up to €75K as well as access to the programme. The benefits of the programme include an intensive week of workshops in London, the ‘Founders Pack’ which includes over €500,000 of discounts on core services like payments, cloud hosting, CRM and Legal. And a co-working space for yourself and your colleagues.
All of these start-up accelerators offer huge potential to grow your business and with the right programme, you can get the support and potential finance you need to make a significant difference in your business industry.
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