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Business accelerator programme for startups

Nurturing talent from across the Midlands

Are you pre-start or recently set up in business?

The Business Startup Accelerator Programme could provide you with free training, resources and connections to help you to establish, grow and succeed.

The Business Startup Accelerator Programme provides entrepreneurs and early-stage companies with free training, resources and connections to help you to establish, grow and succeed. Anyone can apply.

Loughborough University has partnered with Charnwood Borough Council to develop a new generation of businesses, rooted in Loughborough and more resilient to future challenges.

The Wayfinder programme was established in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and is a new part of the university’s business incubator LU Inc.

We can help by providing a 6-month long programme of support including:

  • Coaching

    Guidance on how to rapidly test new ideas, set up and grow new business ventures
  • Training

    Expert-led workshops and virtual resources designed to help you develop all elements of your business, from business modelling to finance to marketing
  • Office space

    Access to flexible and fully-serviced shared office space in Loughborough Town Centre and at Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park (LUSEP)
  • Networking

    Profile-raising opportunities through the University’s promotional and enterprise networks, including angel investors and regional innovation leaders
  • Funding

    The potential to access funding toward follow on workspace (post-programme)

The Business Startup Accelerator Programme is delivered by Loughborough University and is part-funded by Charnwood Enterprise Zone Historical Business Rates, overseen by Charnwood Borough Council and the Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership.


Starting a business in Leicester and Leicestershire

Our mission is to nurture emerging new businesses from across Leicestershire and beyond. We aim to lead a business development and acceleration programme which creates a rich, vibrant and supportive start-up community.

LU Inc. members can benefit from:

  • Expert-led startup programme of training and events
  • Introductions to specialists, mentors and entrepreneurs-in-residence
  • Access to investor networks and other funding partners
  • Profile-raising opportunities as your business develops, through the University and partner networks
  • Co-location within a vibrant start-up community bringing together fellow founders
  • Fully serviced shared workspace in Loughborough Town Centre or Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park (LUSEP)

Introducing our businesses

 

"Coming from a corporate background, one really useful thing about working alongside other startups has been learning about how they’re building their companies from zero. I get ideas and projects develop through conversations with other founders while we make a brew."

GeorgeDirector1284PR & Communications startup

"Being part of a co-working environment has proved valuable for me. Being surrounded by like-minded and ambitious people has helped me cultivate, validate and execute my ideas far more efficiently and effectively."

BenDirectorDeadgoodWebsite agency

"It’s easy to lose focus working from home. Being in the right workplace can mean you’re more productive and you can seek help when you get stuck."

LouiseDirectorThe People Deal

Am I eligible for business support?

You are eligible to apply for the programme if you meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • You are living, working or have recently been studying in the Leicester and Leicestershire areas
  • You are entering the labour market, are out of work, or in casual or temporary employment
  • You are a new business, registered in Leicester and Leicestershire, are within 12 months of setup and are working on a new product or service

The application process

Step 1: Start the conversation

The first step is simple. Complete the form below to be considered for the next round of admissions. We will contact you soon after we receive your details. Applications close in February for the Spring intake and July for the autumn intake.

Step 2: Make your pitch

We’ll invite you to submit a short Pitch Deck outlining your business in a little more detail. There are tips on what it needs to include here. We’ll also arrange for you to speak with a member of the LU Inc. team to run through your early business plan in more detail.

Step 3: Review / Offer

At this stage we may ask for further, more detailed information about your business plans. The LU Inc. team will then review your application and confirm whether you have been accepted onto the next cohort.


Apply for Wayfinder Loughborough

Thank you for your interest in the Wayfinder business development acceleration programme.

The details you provide will only be used for the purposes of administration. They will be stored securely and not shared with third parties.


The programme runs twice-yearly. New intakes are in February and August. We receive expressions of interest all year round. Please complete the form and one of our LU Inc. team members will be in contact.


For the following questions we advise no more than 100 words.