Pre-Accelerator Programme

Our pre-accelerator programme focuses on developing ideas and early stage start-ups.

If you are motivated, inspired and committed to solving problems, we want to hear from you.

Participants will progress their ideas from concept to MVP (minimum viable product) stage. The aim of the pre-accelerator is to help participants learn about building a product, service, business, funding strategy, organisation, brand and pitch deck.

Facilitators and expert mentors will guide teams and individuals through building blocks of the start-up journey. The participants will be able to evaluate ideas, validate assumptions, develop skills and connect with the start-up ecosystem in Sheffield and beyond.


The programme will be delivered over 12 weeks, and include:

  • Series of workshops and masterclasses
  • Entrepreneur Guest speakers
  • 1-1 and group coaching & mentoring sessions
  • Introduction to relevant networks including signposting to local Accelerators


You can take part in the programme as a team or an individual if:

  • You are a current student, member of staff or a graduate from the last 3 years


  • You have a business idea that solves a local, regional, national or international problem or in a particular field/sector, and you are unsure about how best to develop it


  • You have an early-stage business and would benefit from spending time to develop the idea better or explore how to position it commercially.

Registration process

The deadline for applications is 10am Monday 1st February 2021.

To apply, follow the link below. You will be asked to pitch your idea during the application, which can be in one of the following formats:

  • A 3 minute video uploaded to Youtube or Vimeo.
  • A narrated PowerPoint presentation uploaded to Youtube or Vimeo.
  • A written report outlining the idea and its impact.

Important dates

Applications Open Applications Close Information - Q&A session Successful Applicants informed Programme Starts

15 December 2020

1 February 2021 19 January 2021 12 February 2021 w/c 22 February 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

About the programme

What is the length of the programme?

The programme will be delivered over 12 weeks, starting March 3rd 2021.

Where is the programme taking place?

Due to the pandemic restrictions, the programme will be held virtually via online platforms.

What is included in the programme?

The programme content has been distributed into 6 building blocks. Each session will last around 3 hours. We will focus on each building block for two weeks, including core learning sessions, fireside chats with guest speakers and checking-in sessions during those two weeks.

  • Build a product
  • Build a business
  • Build a funding strategy
  • Build an organisation
  • Build a brand
  • Demo day & pitch presentations

Who will run the programme?

Entrepreneurship service at the University has partnered with 3B impact to design and develop the programme. Expert facilitators for each topic will be brought in accordingly, and we will invite external speakers to support the sessions.

About the participant and the idea

Do I need an idea or an established business?

You need to have an idea that solves a local, regional, national or international problem or in a particular field or sector.

Who can participate in the programme?

UoS students & staff, and UoS graduate students (in the last 3 years). If you are an academic with an innovative idea, please visit for more relevant support, this programme is for staff with ideas where there is no university owned IP. If in doubt, please contact the team through the above link.

If you are a staff member you will have to seek your line manager’s approval and participation in this programme is voluntary and in your own time

Do I need to have a team?

You can take part in the programme as an individual or as a team. We encourage people to work in teams where possible, but that’s not a requirement to participate in the programme.

Is this a competitive programme?

Yes, this is a competitive programme and participants will be selected to participate.

What is the selection criteria?

We will consider a number of factors while making the decision. These would include but not limited to, quality of the idea, commitment to progressing the idea and to participate in the programme as well as the stage of the idea/start-up.

Selection of successful candidates will be through a panel. Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified by 12 February 2021.

What is the time commitment?

We strongly encourage everyone to attend all sessions, these are a minimum of two hours per week. You would also work in between sessions on your ideas/businesses but that depends on each individual and team.

We plan to record the sessions, to be shared with everyone, provided no technical difficulties to be encountered. If you are unable to join a particular session, we will provide you with session material.

What do I need to join?

All sessions are happening online, therefore all you need is access to the internet and a computer.

Do I need to submit anything at the end of the programme?

You will develop a pitch deck to be delivered on the demo day (26th May 2021) at the end of the programme. You may also want to develop a business plan while participating in the programme.

What to do if I have more questions?

Attend the information and Q&A session on 19th Jan 2021 10-12 am, book here

Please email with any urgent queries.