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Start-up Accelerator

Supporting Startups

Startup Accelerator

Look back on our previous Startup Accelerator programme which supported student, staff and alumni to set up and launch new business ventures with funding, training and support.

Apply for the RGU Innovation Accelerator

We have now adapted the RGU Startup Accelerator to be the RGU Innovation Accelerator, with applications open for a cohort in 2021.

In 2021, our world looks very different as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and we wanted our programmes to reflect the needs of our world. The Innovation Accelerator is a special edition programme adapted from our previous accelerators and is designed to be a launchpad not just for startup businesses, but for innovations, projects and social enterprises which make people’s lives better.

Many of the core features of the programme continue including training, mentorship and facilities, but with the need for more focus and online delivery. Applications are open until Sunday 17 January 2021.

About the Programme

From 2018 – 2020, the RGU Startup Accelerator supported entrepreneurial teams of students, staff and alumni in RGU and partner North East Scotland College (NESCol) to set up new businesses with the aim of boosting the region’s economy. The flagship programme ran over five months with 46 startups supported over two cohorts to launch, test and develop their ideas.

Since the launch of the programme in 2018, our teams have gone on to create over £1.4 million in impact for the economy, create 37 full time jobs and win several national awards. In 2021, the programme continues as the RGU Innovation Accelerator with a focus on key global challenges.


Benefits of the Programme

The programme offered founders a range of benefits including:

  • Structured skills development sessions
  • Dedicated mentorship
  • Occupancy of a free city-centre co-working office space
  • Connection with external subject matter experts
  • Invitations and participation on a range of networking events
  • Access and use of communications tools
  • Access to seed funding
  • Opportunity to present at a final showcase event
  • Opportunity for international students to gain a two-year Startup Visa endorsement letter

The accelerator programme is run by the RGU Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group, and is funded by the Wood Foundation. The programme works in partnership with NESCol as part of the TWO PLUS alliance, and Opportunity North East as part of the ONE Tech Hub in Schoolhill which all RGU start-ups (digital or not) will have access to.


Meet Our Startup Teams

Across the first two cohorts of our Startup Accelerator our teams have come from diverse backgrounds with founders from twenty-one countries, and ideas ranging from digital technology, fashion, tourism, healthcare, finance, education and more. These teams have found investors, filed patents, launched products, won awards and gone on to achieve significant success beyond the programme.

  • Alumni team Daryll and Luke Morrow ran a successful crowdfunding campaign for their micro-internshipä platform raising over £300,000 from 176 investors.
  • Amy founded Kaerlig Beauty after battling breast cancer and wanted soap solutions which were better for her skin while going through chemotherapy. Amy engaged with the programme while raising teenage sons and working at NESCol and has now got products stocked in Harvey Nicols.
  • FinTech startup, Digital Future Capital have gained FCA approval to become the first ever cryptocurrency hedge fund in Scotland whether they will provide access to high-growth cryptocurrencies and digital assets.
  • Lucy is an architecture graduate with a passion for knitting, an industry which has lacked innovation for decades. With her Knit It app and Knit Pic kits, she has gone on to win Scottish Young EDGE and Creative EDGE, and been a finalist in the Converge Creative Challenge.

Find out more about the teams on the programme and get in touch with them by meeting our startups.


Startup Visa

Recent graduates of RGU have the opportunity to apply for a two year Startup Visa if accepted as part of the Startup Accelerator Programme.

If you have an innovative business idea and you are you an international student the Startup Visa is an opportunity to extend your stay in the UK for two years while you work on a new business idea. Robert Gordon University is an endorsing body and will consider visa opportunities to those who successfully complete the RGU Startup Accelerator Programme.

Download our guide for further information, eligibility requirements and application process:

If you feel you would be eligible or want more information, arrange a meeting with a member of the Entrepreneurship and Group by contacting innovation@rgu.ac.uk

While Robert Gordon University may issue limited endorsement letters to graduates of our courses, the Home Office remain responsible for all immigration decisions. RGU only offers endorsement letters for the Startup Visa, and we do not offer any endorsements for the Innovator Visa. Find out more about the Startup Visa:


Founders Showcase

At the end of the Startup Accelerator programme, the teams compete for additional funding and prizes through a pitching event. This is an opportunity for teams to launch themselves and connect with key stakeholders.

Take a look back on our first Founders Showcase with Cohort 1 in 2019.

Watch our virtual #StartupSundayLive which highlights Cohort 2 the programme in 2020.

If you have questions about RGU’s startup support or accelerator programmes, get in touch on innovation@rgu.ac.uk

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