Founders Accelerator meeting

Supporting Startups

Startup Accelerator

Turn your idea into a viable business through our Startup Accelerator Programme offering training, mentorship, incubation space and opportunities for funding.

About the Programme

Are you thinking about additional ways to invest in your future and expand employability options? Maybe you always wanted to start a business or you are interested in developing an start up idea. The RGU Start Up Accelerator, now running in its sixth year, is seeking to support early-stage innovators exclusively for students and alumni up to ten years following graduation.

If you have an early-stage innovative idea, the programme can offer you five-months of training flexible around work and studies, access to mentors and the opportunity to access equity-free seed funding.

The programme is open to all RGU students, staff and alumni (within 10 years) and is seeking ideas from all sectors, including the third sector and those focusing on sustainability and sustainable development.

Benefits of the Programme

The programme offers founders a range of benefits including:

  • At least 16 structured skills development sessions in evenings and weekends
  • Access to equity-free funding per startup and additional prize funds
  • A minimum of 10 hours of one-to-one mentoring
  • Occupancy of a free city-centre co-working office space
  • Access and use of communications tools and digital resources
  • Promotion and chance to pitch at our final Startup Showcase event

Previous teams have gone one to raise over £1.6 million in economic impact, won national awards and launched ventures. International students are welcome to apply and with support can apply for Innovator Founders Visa. Our previous participants on the programme have had the opportunity to showcase their achievements at our live events.

Programme Eligibility

If you are interested in applying for the competition, our criteria is:

  • The lead applicant who must be a founder of the business must be an RGU student or alumni within 10 years of graduation
  • The business must intend to set up in the UK, ideally Scotland.
  • The business must be early-stage and have the intention of registering an entity (as a company, social enterprise or otherwise) as a result of the programme.
  • The business must be early-stage and must not have raised more than £100,000 in investment or revenue
  • The business must intend to have at least one founder working on the business full time within twelve months of the end of the programme

In addition to our formal eligibility criteria, judges may consider applicants wider context such as employment status or barriers to working in order to be inclusive and offer places to applicants who may benefit most from the programme.

Programme Dates

All participants of the programme are required to attend scheduled sessions and accelerator events for the duration of the programme from January to May 2024. All dates for the next cohort will be confirmed once accepted into the programme.

The programme typically starts with an intensive bootcamp weekend and will then involve multiple evening and weekend sessions during that period. Beyond that the programme usually involved two evening sessions and one weekend session every three weeks, culminating in a final showcase event.


Applications for the Startup Accelerator Programme 2024 Cohort 6 are now open.

If you are interested in applying for a future accelerator programme or if you need any further information email 

Application Guidance

In order to be successful for the programme, we will look for lots of different factors to be covered in your application form:

  • Understanding of the problem: We want to see that you have a clear, realistic and demanding problem to solve, you can use evidence of how impactful this is for customers such as research or interviews.
  • Ideas which are innovative: We are looking for your idea to be easy to understand, unique and solving a real problem. We want ideas which show innovation and can scale beyond the region. However, applicants must accept that their ideas might change as part of the process.
  • Potential for growth in the market: We are looking for teams to have an idea of who their target market is and have done some research on if there are competitors. An investable high-growth company needs a sizeable market where there is high earning potential.
  • Testing of the business model: We are looking for some evidence that the business could make money and that the founders may have made some work towards their vision. This could be through revenue, users, customer interviews, a demo, a rough prototype, a patent, or other research. While we accept early stage ideas, a little testing can strengthen your application.
  • Strong entrepreneurial teams: We are looking for groups of ambitious and creative entrepreneurs with the right attitude and experience to run their business. We value team over everything else, and you need to be able to take critical feedback and adapt your business.

Programme Funders

The RGU StartUp Accelerator 2024 is brought to you by Robert Gordon University.


If you have questions about RGU’s startup support or accelerator programmes, get in touch on

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