Accelerator scheme aims to help North-east flourish

The academic tie-up is aiming to benefit the wider community. Picture: The Gatehouse - Design & Print Consultancy.
The academic tie-up is aiming to benefit the wider community. Picture: The Gatehouse - Design & Print Consultancy.
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A scheme billed as the first funded start-up programme in the North-east, aiming to back the creation of new businesses across several sectors, is calling for applications.

North East Scotland College (NESCol) will join Robert Gordon University (RGU) in the project, which will play a key role in the development of a major innovation district in Aberdeen.

The Startup Accelerator, developed and managed by RGU, will support entrepreneurial teams of students, staff and recent alumni in both institutions.

And it will look to help the region’s entrepreneurs and innovators come up with businesses in industries including healthcare, technology, education, energy, retail, food and drink, transport, fashion and consumer products.

The 30 teams that make it through the judging next month will receive up to £10,000 of funding each.

John Harper, principal and vice chancellor of RGU, said the Startup Accelerator “will provide additional career pathways for students, and help to develop new types of start-up companies in the North East to the benefit of the wider community”.

Liz McIntyre, principal of NESCol, stated: “This is a real example of the re-imagining of what collaboration means between NESCol and RGU. This opportunity offers our students, staff and recent alumni the opportunity to take their creativity and entrepreneurship to the next level.”

The Startup Accelerator will eventually be based in the recently announced One Digital Entrepreneurship Hub, located at the historic RGU Schoolhill site.

The programme is described as acting as yet another key milestone in the development of a “significant” innovation district in Aberdeen, working with other start-up, innovation and accelerator programmes.

Gordon McConnell, vice president of commercial and regional innovation, also commented: “We are delighted to have the wider NESCol community engage in this very exciting opportunity. There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur in the North-east of Scotland.”

RGU said the Startup Accelerator and Innovation Skills programmes are just the first of various new initiatives covering skills, employability, innovation and entrepreneurship being developed by the university that will launch over the coming months.

Individual teams may submit a variety of venture concept proposals in a range of industry areas from technology to food and beverage, sustainability, and creative industries such as fashion or architecture, and to healthcare, engineering, social enterprise and digital offerings.

The online application for the programme is now open and closes on 18 November.