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Minister launches accelerator support for high potential start-ups

15 May 2015

Jonathan Bell MLA DETI Minister

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell today launched an initiative designed to help high potential start-ups access early stage support and investment in Northern Ireland.

Invest Northern Ireland has contributed £2.6million to establish a seed accelerator - http://www.startplanetni.com which will focus on attracting both international and indigenous businesses with technology based ideas in the Knowledge Economy sectors.

Jonathan Bell said: “Supporting ambitious entrepreneurs to develop innovative start-ups is critical to building Northern Ireland’s next generation of world class businesses.

“The Start Planet accelerator will help to build the community for high potential start-ups in Northern Ireland and enhance both our entrepreneurship culture and also our finance market.

“Each team will get access to intensive mentoring, a co-working space and seed capital funding to help them develop the capability and knowledge to succeed internationally.”

The Start Planet NI accelerator will be delivered by SOSventures in a purpose designed facility, which will from part of the Revolution brand of co-working spaces being developed by the company. SOSventures is a venture capital company based in Cork and San Francisco that invests in technology start-ups globally.

Wayne Murphy, Start Planet NI Programme Director, said: “The accelerator is focused on entrepreneurs looking to transform their start-ups into high-value businesses. Applications will be invited from 14 May 2015 – 16 July 2015 and the teams will be put through a rigorous selection procedure to test their business vision and fundability.

“We know how important partnerships can be and our pool of mentors will provide the participants with valuable coaching and connections to customers, partners and investors. The Revolution co-working space will be a vital component in creating the supportive environment for start-ups to have the best possible chance of success in addition to providing a truly global network of connections in terms of mentors, investors and partners from similar spaces in Shenzhen, Cork, New York and San Francisco.

“Up to £2million of equity funding will also be made available to the accelerator start-ups over the five year programme. Support will also be offered to gain follow-on funding to help develop their business both during and post the completion of the three month Accelerator period.”

Each accelerator cohort will consist of a group of 8-10 small teams made up of 2-4 individuals. They will participant in an intensive three month programme. Participants for this accelerator will be recruited every year for a period up to five years. Around 50% of the recruits will be local teams and the remainder will be teams from outside Northern Ireland.

For more information or to apply for the Start Planet NI Accelerator go to http://www.StartPlanetNI.com

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