Man pointing at paper

What is a business accelerator?

A business accelerator is a programme that gives fledging start-ups access to the support they need to grow their business. They usually run between two and six months, taking entrepreneurs on a crash course in growing their business.

Start-ups going through a business accelerator work with a team of expert mentors and advisors to build their business and avoid major pitfalls.

Accelerator programmes are run by experts who spend their days helping start-ups overcome hurdles, which makes them a treasure trove of insight for start-up owners.

As accelerator programmes take on several businesses at a time, they’re also a great opportunity for business owners to meet like-minded entrepreneurs they can bounce ideas off and collaborate with.

What’s the difference between a business accelerator and a business incubator?

A business accelerator typically helps start-ups that are already established and are ready to scale up to the next level with the help of financial investment and support.

An incubator, on the other hand, is a programme that helps entrepreneurs turn an idea they have for a business into reality. It supports entrepreneurs in testing their idea and taking it from a concept through to a profitable product or service.

DCI has been designed to provide just as much value to owners of existing Durham-based businesses and entrepreneurs with an ambitious idea for start-up they want to test. The programme can help you whether you’re already established and trading or you’re trying to figure out how to get your idea off the ground.

No matter where you are in the process, you’ll receive:

  • A start-up grant of up to £2,500 to invest in your business or idea.
  • A mentor to share your ideas, thoughts and ambitions with.
  • The chance to connect, learn and collaborate with the like-minded entrepreneurs going through the programme alongside you.
  • Unique opportunities to connect with investors and funders that can finance your business growth plans.
  • Access to the shared workspace in Salvus House in Durham at a reduced rate (just £50 per month).
  • An opportunity to test a business model in the real world with a safety net there to support you.
  • The chance to gain hands-on experience through workshops by some of the North East’s leading experts in marketing, finance, legal and business growth.
  • Access to networks, events and meet-ups across the North East.
  • Free public relations and marketing opportunities that will help raise your profile and get your business on the map.
  • One-to-one support from DCI staff to help you plan and achieve your targets.
  • Up to two days of specialist consultancy support.
  • An option to access an innovation loan up to £7,500 financed by Northstar Ventures.

Interested? Apply to be part of the next cohort here.

The next application deadline is Friday 6th May 2022

apply now