Summer Accelerator

Got a new business idea that needs a development boost over the summer? Join our 3-month programme, where we help you fast-track the commercial development of your idea and give you the chance to win £5,000.

Applications for 2021 are now closed.

What is the Summer Accelerator?

The Summer Accelerator, run in partnership with Imperial College Business School from July until September, is the perfect opportunity for students looking to get more out of their summer and give their business idea a big developmental push.

You’re looking at 12 weeks of 1-1 sessions with a mentor, business coaching, peer-to-peer support and Experts-in-residence. All with a £500 grant PLUS a possible extra £1,000 in monthly grants (dependent on progress).

The programme ends with a pitch showcase in September, where teams compete for our cash prize of £5,000!

Learning outcomes

By the end of this programme you’ll have learnt how to:

Identify and prioritise your key business assumptions

Test and validate your assumptions through customer discovery and experimentation

Identify drivers of product-market fit

Receive and action mentor and customer feedback

Support and work with fellow cohort teams

Develop a post-programme action plan

Entry requirements

  1. Teams must include at least one student or alumni from Imperial College Business School (graduated no earlier than 2018).
  2. The Team lead must be an Imperial College London students or recent alumni (graduated no earlier than 2018).
  3. Teams must be comprised of between two and five individuals.
  4. Team members may be external, as long as the above criteria are fulfilled.
  5. Teams must not have previously received more than £100,000 in funding.
  6. Teams must have already made clear and demonstrable progress in customer discovery and toward proof of concept or prototype stage.

Key dates

INDUCTION SESSION
Thursday 24 June – 5 to 7pm

Selected teams will attend an online induction session to meet the cohort, receive an introduction to the programme, and meet the programme team.

PRE PROGRAMME COACHING

Wednesday 30 June – between 9am and 5pm

Teams will meet with a business coach to assess their level of development. 

PITCH PRACTICE

Friday 2 July – between 9am and 5pm

Teams will meet with Enterprise Lab staff to go through their pitch to receive feedback ahead of the mentor panel session. 

MENTOR PITCH SESSION

Wednesday 7 July – between 9am and 5pm

At the Mentor Pitch Session, all teams will take part in a pitch session to a panel of mentors. This will involve making a business pitch followed by a Q&A with the panel. 

Following this session each team will be paired with a mentor for the duration of the programme. Teams will have monthly meetings with their mentors to discuss their progress and challenges they’re facing. 

MENTOR MEETINGS

 Wednesday 14 July, 11 August & 8 September – between 9am and 5pm

At their monthly mentor meetings, teams will discuss their progress toward monthly goals agreed with the business coach and any challenges they are facing. 

Mentors will give feedback and advice on the work teams have completed and on what they should be focusing on next. 

Teams will be awarded their monthly £500 grant based off mentor feedback and their progress toward monthly goals. 

BUSINESS COACHING

Thursday 8 July, Thursday 12 August, and Thursday 9 September – between 9am and 5pm

You receive 3 online business coaching sessions as part of the programme (45 minutes each).

Business coaching will allow you to review mentor feedback, set goals for the month and identify how to use your £500 grant.

Business coaching is also the perfect way to work through any challenges you may be facing, be it with your idea, your team or your next steps.

CUSTOMER DISCOVERY MASTERCLASS

Wednesday 21 July – 5 to 7pm

Teams will attend this masterclass to learn more about how they should be undertaking their customer discovery throughout the programme and to address any challenges.

 

PEER-TO-PEER MENTORING

Wednesday 28 July and Wednesday 25 August – between 5 and 7:30pm

During peer to peer mentoring sessions participating teams come together to share their experiences, challenges and next steps. It is a great way to learn from others and grow as a cohort!

Sessions will be 1h long, and you will be split into two groups of 3 or 4 teams each.

EXPERTS-IN-RESIDENCE

Thursday 29 July and Thursday 26 August – between 9am and 5pm

Teams will get the opportunity to meet with one of the Enterprise Lab’s Experts-in-Residence.

SUMMER ACCELERATOR GRAND FINAL

Wednesday 22 September

Teams will pitch to an expert panel of judges, followed by a Q&A, for the chance to win the £5000 Grand Prize. 

This will be a virtual final with the audience will include Imperial staff, students, alumni and external contacts in the wider ecosystem.

POST PROGRAMME COACHING

Wednesday 29 September – between 9am and 5pm

Teams to meet with a business coach to assess their level of development following the conclusion of the programme. This will also be an opportunity to develop a post-programme action plan.

FAQs

Can I submit several projects?
Yes! As long as you’ve done the required research on them all (see our Entry Requirements 👆) you can submit several ideas.

How advanced do ideas have to be to apply?
You have to show that you’ve made clear and demonstrable progress (e.g. customer discovery work, proof of concept, prototyping) to show that your idea is suitable for this programme. We can’t accept brand new ideas.

Do you take any equity in my team/company?
No. We’re in this to help you, and have designed this programme to give you the skills and support so you can create your own company and carve out your own future.

When can I expect a reply regarding my application?
We aim to let all our all applicants know if they’ve been accepted onto the programme by 5.00 PM on 26 June.

I’ve submitted my application, but haven't received a confirmation email. Should I have?

If you haven’t received a confirmation email then check your spam folder. If it’s not in there please email Euan Bell: euan.bell@imperial.ac.uk.

What are the Terms and Conditions?

You can find the programme terms and conditions here.

Can I speak to someone about my application?

Yes, if you have any questions please get in touch with Euan Bell: euan.bell@imperial.ac.uk

How much money can each team win?

Each team can win up to £1,500 in monthly grants. The overall programme winner will be awarded the Grand Prize of £5,000. 

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Testimonials

“The Summer Accelerator allowed us to get perspectives from different people – that outside feedback was massively useful in getting us to explore different paths and help us move our idea forward.”

Huzaifa Patel, Remote Sense

How to apply

Applications for summer 2021 are now closed. 

If you have any questions please email Euan Bell: euan.bell@imperial.ac.uk