Looking to start your own business?
Perhaps you’re currently working full-time, but know that you were born to be your own boss. Maybe you’ve got a burning idea that won’t go away, or an urge to build something, solve a problem, make a difference.
But where do you start? What about the risks? How do you get connections, money, support?
That’s where The Startup Accelerator comes in.
The Startup Accelerator is a 10-week, part-time course (designed to fit around a full-time job) through which you’ll not just learn the smart way to build a business and get your idea off the ground – you’ll actually do it. Our methodology is designed around three main components:
The Lean Startup
Demystify the startup process
We’ll teach you the ‘Lean Startup’ method built by prominent startup experts. This involves processes to build, test and adjust your idea quickly. Ensuring you don’t waste time, money and energy in the long run.
The Escape Toolkit & Mindset
Move from thinking to doing
From how to work through what’s stopped you so far, to free website platforms and customer development hacks; our startup experts will equip you with the tools & mindset needed to turn your idea into a business.
Accountability & Community
Accountability = progress
Starting a business alone is hard. But with likeminded peers, strong leaders, experienced mentors and enthusiastic Escapees you’ll have the guidance and support to get going and maintain momentum.
Ideas we’ve helped launch
Pippa escaped production at The Science Museum to found Pip & Nut – naturally nutritious nut butters made from just roasted nuts and a sprinkling of sea salt.
Stocked in 2500+ UK stores with £3m annual revenue.
Charlie escaped recruitment to found Moju – a juice brand on a mission to inspire a new generation of healthier, happier people by making accessible, great-tasting juice in the healthiest way possible.
Stocked in Harrods, Waitrose and more.
Sanne escaped banking and sales & marketing to Co-Found FRAEMd – an online platform where your taste is matched with affordable and original art.
Featured in Elle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, TNW.
Armin escaped accountancy to found Vitamin Buddy – a vitamin subscription service based on personalised supplement plans with high quality vitamins.
100 monthly subscriptions.
Adela escaped Management Consultancy to found Style Lyrical – A stylist service which takes the headache out of clothes shopping and deliver 3 beautiful handpicked outfits, to your door.
10 fashion label partners.
Deepak escaped Investment Banking Consultancy to found Oddbox – London’s only Social Enterprise delivering wonky fruit & veg boxes to homes & offices, fighting food waste and helping local growers.
1,000 customers receiving weekly veg deliveries across London.
Paola founded Noi Club alongside her corporate marketing career – Noi Club is a community of female achievers who regularly meet to champion each other and move forward together.
21 female empowerment events held in London.
By the end of The Startup Accelerator you will have…
A first version of your product or service
You’ll know how to take an idea and break it down to create a sensible version 1.0.
A personal transition roadmap
You’ll know how to create a transition plan to de-risk your personal finances.
Your first sale
You’ll know all the ways in which you can build early revenue.
A future business plan
You’ll know what numbers are important to your idea / business.
Online Business Identity: Website, Logo, Explainer Video, Social Media Channels, Content Plan
That you have built yourself, with no code and no need to hire a developer.
Your target customer profile
You’ll know who your users are and have spoken to your customers to validate your idea.
A honed pitch
With feedback from mentors and experienced startups facilitators for either investment, support or for future co-founders.
Tested marketing channels
You’ll have experimented with social media channels and know which is the most effective for connecting with your customers.
A 3-month prioritised action plan
You’ll know what to focus on and how to keep on track.
An alumni community of likeminded entrepreneurs
Friends, future business partners and a network of connections to help you on your entrepreneurial journey.
Over the course of 10 weeks, you will be guided through a learning-by-doing experience. Much of the curriculum is based on the ‘Lean Startup’ methodology, and we cover the following fundamentals to successfully get your idea out into the world – while avoiding common (and costly) mistakes.
- Testing Assumptions
- Customer Development
- Business Modelling
- Build an MVP
- Tech & Design Tools
- Marketing Strategies
- Sales & Pricing
- Funding & Forward Planning
Module 1: Set yourself up for success
Check in your motivations. What success looks like for you. Understand what might be holding you back and know how to transition from your job intelligently.
- Startup Types & Routes
- Myths Vs Realities
- Traps & Common Mistakes
- Good Idea Criteria
Module 2: How to prioritise
Know how to take any idea and break it down in order to validate how it may be launched. You will create a focussed 12-week plan for your idea to test over the programme.
- Making Time
- Focus framework
- Rules of the Road
- Intelligent Transitions
Module 3: Clarify the problem & define your niche
Every great business solves a problem, understand the problem you are solving, who you are serving, how to do customer development and how to communicate what you are doing to the world.
- Solving real world problems
- Defining your problem
- Define your niche
Module 4: Sure up your idea
Understand the basic economics to a business idea. Be able to quickly model finances and identify the strengths and weaknesses to any idea.
- Understanding the fundamentals of your business
- Lean Business model canvas
- Simple business modelling
Module 5: Validate & test your idea
Learn how to build and test the first version of your idea to help you validate the problem you are trying to solve. We also cover which free or cheap tools you can use to help quickly build and validate your idea.
- Intro to ‘Minimum Viable Products’
- Prioritise, set goals and action your top 3 assumptions
- Create personas, learn how to speak to customers to gather insight
Module 6: Build a simple website
Learn how to build and publish a high performing website without hiring a developer or learning to code.
- Landing Pages
- Product Pages & Shopping Carts
- Domain buying and email setup
- Application/Enquiry Forms
- Design a Brand & Logo (for non-designers)
Module 7: Build 1,000 true fans
Learn how to attract, engage and retain customers and build your first 1,000 fans.
- How to build a community around your product
- Digital marketing strategies: social media, content, email, pitch decks
Module 8: Race to the first Sale
A business isn’t a business without taking cash. Learn all the ways you can accelerate the process of getting your first sale.
- Simple pre-sales options & tools
- Crowdfunding 101
- Smart pricing tactics
Module 9: Launch & Plan for the future
Learn how to pitch your idea for support, investment or potential co-founders. Understand
all the business fundamentals you’ll need to set yourself up for success in year 1.
- Co-founders and business Admin 101
- Planning your next 12 months
- Funding paths
- Looking after yourself
Dates & location
Next Intake: 20th January – 28th March 2018
During this time you will be required every Wednesday evening for 10 weeks (6:30 – 9:30 pm), as well as the following weekend days (9:30am – 5:30pm):
- 20th & 21st January: Saturday & Sunday (Kickoff Weekend)
- 27th January: Saturday
- 17th February: Saturday
- 3rd March: Saturday
- 24th March: Saturday (Demo Day & Celebration)
The course is designed to fit around full-time employment.
All The Accelerator sessions take place at Work.Life Clerkenwell:
Work.Life Clerkenwell, 20 Jerusalem Passage, London, EC1V 4JP
The nearest stations are Farringdon and Chancery Lane.
Our course fee is payable upfront or in instalments spread over 4 months.
No payments will be requested until your application has been reviewed and you’ve chatted with a member of our team.
Your fee includes
10 x 3-hour evening workshops: during our course sessions you’ll have face to face time with our experts as they guide you through the fundamentals of starting a business, as well as tailored exercises to accelerate your idea.
Kickoff Bootcamp: during our full weekend (Saturday & Sunday) from 10-6pm, we’ll dive straight into the course and start connecting with each other.
Online resources: the course is supported via access to our online content where all material and resources live.
4 x Saturday workshops (9:30am-5:30pm): our full day sessions allow more in-depth workshops to provide a deeper dive into teaching tools, one-to-one mentoring and time spent getting the work done and taking your idea to the next level.
One-on-one mentoring: you’ll have access to regular check-ins with your Course Leaders and mentors every week throughout the course.
Demo Day: a chance to practice pulling your idea together into a pitch for either support, investment or to find a co-founder.
People have graduated from our Startup Accelerator.
Thought our Startup Accelerator was a good investment.
Would recommend the Startup Accelerator to a friend.
Who is this for?
This is for you if you…
Have an idea for a new product or service. (Any idea counts, it doesn’t need to be perfect – in fact, it’ll probably change).
Aren’t sure how to test your idea.
Are looking for structure and guidance to make it happen.
Need help finding your first customers.
Want to get creative and have a lot of fun.
Feel like tech might be blocking you.
Want to build confidence.
Are eager to connect with experts.
Want to be part of a friendly, startup-minded community.
Your leadership team
Our educational excellence is a community effort. When you learn at Escape, you can always rely on an in-house team of experts to provide guidance and support, whenever you need it.
This programme will be lead by Ben Keene (Co-Founder of Tribe Wanted) and Skye Robertson (Esc School).
We’ll bring in plenty of industry and topic experts who have been there and done it in the real world.
You’ll work with a range of Mentors with different types of business expertise.
The Escape Club
Your journey isn’t over after 10 weeks…
After completing the course, you’ll graduate into The Escape Club, a private network for Alumni of our London and New York courses. Full of brave Escapees, ambitious career changers, and aspiring entrepreneurs, this community will support you as you continue your journey.
Structured tools for connecting with each other online and offline
Optional weekly Escape gatherings, as well as bigger retreats and festivals
Exclusive introductions to, and connections with, Escape employers
Ongoing access to all Escape materials and other information
Inspiration from successful Escapees and a platform to share your progress
Click below to find all our Startup Accelerator frequently asked questions, including:
- What is the likely demographic?
- Do I need a startup idea?
- What if I can’t make all the dates?
- Is it just for corporate professionals?
- Is this all about building tech startups?
- How does the application process work?
- Can I apply with a friend or business partner?