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Innovators to take on some of society’s biggest challenges during the pandemic

Friday 15 January 2021

Accelerator promo image with happy applicants
To help entrepreneurs tackle three of society’s biggest challenges during the pandemic, a five-month training programme with generous seed funding from Robert Gordon University (RGU) has extended its application deadline and will be delivered online.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, RGU’s 2021 Innovation Accelerator challenges innovators from RGU and NESCol to come up with solutions to challenges facing society in one of three areas: to help society recover from the challenges of COVID-19, to design solutions to reduce inequality, or to create new health and wellbeing solutions.    

Chris Moule, Head of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at RGU, said: “Now, more than ever, we need to seek out and support innovators who could have a positive impact on the world. That’s why our 2021 Accelerator is going to be different. The RGU Innovation Accelerator is not just for students, staff, and graduates who want to start new business ventures, but for passionate, creative, and ambitious innovators and entrepreneurs who have ideas and solutions to some of societies biggest challenges.” 

To support the entrepreneurs in this challenge, RGU will provide a number of benefits to successful applicants including £2000 of seed funding, dedicated mentorship, connections to external subject experts, and the opportunity to present at a final showcase to compete for additional funding. 

Prior to the 2021 Innovation Accelerator, the programme had a focus on creating scalable start-ups to diversify and strengthen the economy through the injection of new products and services. Since its launch in 2018, the Start-Up Accelerator has supported 46 businesses to raise more than £1.4 million in investment and revenue.  

Previous participants have included Udrafter, an online micro-internship platform that went on to raise £300k in crowdfunding, and Knit-It, an innovative digital knitting company that receive the Young and Creative Scottish Edge awards in 2020. 

The 2021 Innovation Accelerator will require applicants to also demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and having a net-zero impact on our environment. It will take place completely online, supporting social distancing requirements and removing the need to travel for participation.  

The deadline to apply has been extended to Sunday 31 January. Teams that include students, staff, or alumni from RGU, or North East Scotland College (or formerly from Aberdeen College or Banff & Buchan College) are welcome to apply.

Chris adds: “We’re open to ideas from all disciplines and sectors, and you don’t need to be a start-up to apply. All that we require is that you demonstrate focused impact across one of the three challenges and a commitment to climate change and sustainability. Entrepreneurs may want to start a business to commercialize the idea or solution, and that's fine—but it’s not a prerequisite. The focus of the 2021 Innovation Accelerator is on impact.” 

The Innovation Accelerator is possible thanks to a host of mentors and external experts and generous funding from the Wood Foundation. 

For more information about the 2021 Innovation Accelerator and to apply, visit RGU’s website.

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