Accelerator fire

Reflecting on RGU’s Regional Startup Accelerator Showcase 2022

By Jana Bringmann, Marketing Project Intern, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Group - 26 May 2022

On Thursday 12 May, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group hosted their fourth Startup Showcase, the finale to their annual Regional Startup Accelerator Programme. After two years of hosting events online, it was a pleasure to welcome 200 guests and a panel of judges to attend the event in person.

Ever since the first Accelerator Programme in 2018, RGU has been able to support over 92 businesses and generated £1.6 million in economic impact, driving the economic development of the region forward.  

The event started with light music playing and the room was bathed in a soft light, as the excited start-ups finished their final preparations for the showcase to come. The suspense in the room was almost visible, as the teams prepared their stalls for the attending guests. After five months of entrepreneurial training and mentorship the showcase marks the final competition, with a total of £80,000 in prize money at stake. Although a general nervousness could be felt from the pitching teams, the bond and connection that the teams had built over the past months seemingly helped to calm their nerves, as they shared their excitement for the upcoming showcase.  

With 36 participating teams, the room was vibrant with innovative spirit, as most teams brought unique props to demonstrate their vision. This also reflected the broad variety of business ideas present in the room, as the stalls were an interactive experience with drones, wine tasting and virtual reality. As the guests arrived and the music picked up its speed, the room slowly came to life as attendees walked around the room to have conversations about possible business opportunities, while enjoying food and drink. H2O Heroes, one of the participating teams said that seeing it all come together and watching the ideas come to live was a key highlight moment on their entrepreneurial journey. 

The audience in the room was a mixture of invited guests, industry experts and past participants of the programme who watched as Chris Moule, the Head of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at RGU, introduced the event. Nine finalists took to the stage with five minutes to share their story, impress the judges, and entertain the audience. The ideas ranged from artificial intelligence technologies to climate positive waste management solutions to innovative local accommodation pods.  

Some of the awarded prizes went to The Habitat People, for ‘Climate Impact’, Two Racoons for ‘Regional Impact’ and the ‘Audience Choice Award’ and Kitchen Integrated Fire Suppression System (KIFSS) for ‘Innovation Impact’ and the ‘High Growth Bonus’.  

In order to come this far, the teams had to overcome challenges such as finding their first customers, developing a business model and building a prototype for their businesses. While some teams stumbled upon their entrepreneurial spirit by accident, and work full time jobs on the side, others bring over 20 years of industry experience to the table. However, one thing all teams have in common is the spirit to take action and pursue their passion. Donella Beaton, Vice Principal for Economic Development at RGU gave any aspiring entrepreneurs the advice to “be brave, be bold and to embrace the opportunity”.  

If you would like to rewatch the Startup Showcase 2022 online or have missed the event, you can do so via YouTube.  

This year's event has been funded by The Scottish Government and Scottish Funding Council through the North East Economic Recovery and Skills Fund (NEERSF) with support from Opportunity North East Limited. 

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