FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who can take part in the scheme?
The AccelerateME programme is open to current students and recent alumni of the Manchester universities. If your university isn't located in Manchester please message us and we can see what kind of support we can offer you.
What does the application process look like?
Every startup needs to submit their written application via the application form by the 20th November midnight. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an online interview after the application deadline. Next a handful of applicants selected on the basis of their application and online interview will be invited to participate in our Bootcamp on the 12th of December. The best teams will be selected onto the programme.
Who reviews applications?
The applications are primarily reviewed by the Programme Director and the AccelerateME team. We may also consult the applications with our advisors. None of the information provided by you will be disclosed to any third parties, who are not officially associated with the AccelerateME programme.
How long does the scheme last?
The 2021 programme will start in February 2021 and it will run for 12-weeks. The programme sessions will however pause for Easters break in April and for most of May, as we want you to focus on your exams. Demo Day will be held in May 2021 right after the exam period. Therefore, the end-to-end length of the programme is close to 4 months.
How is the programme structured and what does it focus on?
The programme is structured around approximately 4 intensive weekend sessions, which are designed to take you through your journey of starting and growing a business. These sessions are tailored around your startups’ individual needs. Sessions are compulsory and will usually take place during whole days on weekends or week day evenings. During the rest of week, you will have the opportunity to arrange one-on-one consultancy sessions with the AccelerateME team, advisors and mentors. You will also be encouraged to spend time in the office with the rest of the cohort whenever you can.
What type of business can apply?
You can apply to AccelerateME with any business idea. Whether it is technology based, a social enterprise or something more general – we will review applications against our criteria and see if they are a good match for the programme as we are looking to take on businesses that we can actually help. If this is not the case, the Accelerate ME Team are keen to help unsuccessful applicants outside of the programme by putting you in touch with relevant people such as investors, mentors and so on – so apply anyway!
Does the business need to be incorporated?
No, your business does not have to be incorporated. We will encourage you and help you with registering your company in the first weeks of the programme.
How does the grant need to be spent?
There are no specific restrictions as to how the money needs to be spent, however it will be drip-fed to you based on meeting objectives. Throughout the programme you’ll meet with our team to set short term measurable goals, and receive instalments of funding that tie in with those goals.
Do I need a technical co-founder if my business is technology based?
It is highly recommended to have a co-founder or a team member with a technical background, if you are looking to build a business with a technology-based product/service. Outsourcing development work can be a very costly investment that may slow you down and burn your money very quickly. However, we will still consider you application even if your team does not have this capacity at the moment.
Can I apply as an individual?
Yes, you can. However, we will require you to find a team (team meaning 2 or more poeple) as soon as possible, if you get accepted. It is immensely important to have a teammate on board. You’ll make better decisions, motivate each other, bounce ideas off one another, have a more diverse skillset and double the time of one individual. Individuals with remote teams will also be considered.
Do you take equity or are there any costs associated with the programme?
We do not take any equity from startups and there is no participation fee. However, we expect high level of commitment from all participants throughout the programme and to give back to AccelerateME when you make it big!
How much funds do I get from the programme?
Up to £1,500 per team, with the possibility of unlocking an extra £500 while completing the programme.
What is expected of me and my team?
Apart from attending the weekend sessions, you will be expected to set your own goals and KPIs, and work tirelessly to achieve them. At the end of the programme, we want you to look back and be proud of what you have achieved. On the side, we will be organising plenty of social activities for the cohort, as interaction with other teams is also very important.
What happens during Demo Day?
This is the day when you get to show off your startup and what you have achieved over your participation in AccelerateME. It is usually an evening event, where we invite a relevant audience from the wider startup ecosystem. We will have speakers (Founder and CEO of Skyscanner joined two years ago), mentors, advisors, investors and other entrepreneurs. The aim for the evening is to get you set up for what happens post-programme, whether it is getting onto another accelerator, raising investment etc. Demo Day is the ideal opportunity for you to do both.
What happens after the programme?
Most alumni have successfully applied to accelerators such as Ignite, Wayra, Dotforge, MassChallenge who invest around from £20,000 to £70,000 into their startups and then help you raise seed funding (£50,000+). However, you there is nothing stopping you from raising seed investment straight out of AccelerateME.
Am I expected to attend all of the sessions?
Yes, we will expect a high level of commitment from you and your team, as this is the only way we can mutually achieve the goal of this programme - to help you become an entrepreneur and kick your business off the ground. If you are unable to attend, we will expect you to let the Programme Director know in advance.
Can I be taken off the programme if my commitment is not sufficient?
Yes, we receive a high number of applications every year and we want to make sure, that the selected participants make the most out of the programme. If you display a continual lack of commitment, we may grant your place to another applicant.