Applications open for second cohort of Welsh ICE start-up accelerator

Applications for the second cohort of a start-up accelerator programme ran at Caerphilly-based innovation centre Welsh ICE have officially opened.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, the Pre-Start Accelerator is open to innovative businesses from across Wales.

Now in its second year, the programme was launched to contribute more than £40 million and 200 jobs to the Welsh economy over the next few years.

Businesses looking to apply for the scheme must outline an ambitious growth strategy that aims to create at least ten jobs and turnover £2 million.

Successful participants will receive a plethora of support from the innovation centre, including access to bespoke support services, a network of investors and needs-based workshops.

It is based at the Welsh ICE co-working space in the Welsh town of Caerphilly and is run in partnership with the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme.

Gemma Hallett is one of the entrepreneurs to benefit from the programme. She is the founder of miFuture, a career-matching mobile app for school leavers.

Last year, she said: “Starting a business can be very daunting, especially when you set yourself such ambitious targets. However, the programme provided me with the support I needed to get miFuture off the ground; introducing me to the experts I needed, when I needed them.

“Be that developers, business planners or finance experts; once I needed specific support, I was introduced to the appropriate person.

“miFuture, in a nutshell is Tinder for careers, matching qualifications, experience and hobbies with job specifications and recruiters.”

Mandy Weston, COO at Welsh ICE,  said: “Gaining entry to the Accelerator Programme is tough and proving that you are capable of creating a minimum of 10 jobs and turning over £2m, in your first three years, is no mean feat.

“However, twelve companies made the cut last year and over half will have launched, in the next three months, with the others looking to launch in 2017.

“The programme has made a very promising start and shows how, with the right idea, motivation and support, pre-start companies can progress toward bigger things.”

Applications close on January 29th, and you can apply here.