Leading US start-up accelerator comes to the UK

London-based MassChallenge UK will offer £10m support package to help “hundreds” of new businesses

A £10m start-up accelerator, MassChallenge UK, is to launch in London to support “hundreds” of British entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses.

The UK programme intends to build on the success of the US MassChallenge accelerator in Boston, Massachusetts, which claims to be the world’s largest business accelerator with over $1m awarded to winning start-ups each year since it began in 2010.

Unveiled at a House of Lords reception yesterday hosted by social entrepreneur Lord Wei, the UK launch has already received backing from Tech City’s Gerard Grech, and Joanna Shields OBE, as well as representatives from 10 Downing Street.

Based on a “no strings attached model”, MassChallenge UK will offer mentoring, training, free office space, PR coverage, and legal advice, as well as funding prizes of up to £600,000 with no equity taken.

MassChallenge UK managing director, Chris Howard, said: “If the UK is to continue its economic recovery, then it is vital we nurture a new generation of start-ups and ambitious entrepreneurs, who can develop sustainable long term businesses.

“MassChallenge UK is open to every kind of start-up in any industry and for people of all ages. One of the key elements that makes it unique is that no equity is taken and we expect nothing back from the businesses, just dedication and commitment.

“The programme has been hugely successful in the US, with MassChallenge alumni creating over 4,000 jobs and with a joint turnover of $350m+. This accelerator model is also a perfect fit for the UK, which has thousands of exciting new entrepreneurs waiting for a chance to grow their own business.”

Boston governor Deval Patrick, who has “gifted” the accelerator to the UK, said: “Like Massachusetts, the UK is a thriving hub of innovation and entrepreneurialism.

“MassChallenge is helping businesses to grow and creating a generation of innovation leaders with ideas to change the world and improve people’s lives.”

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, added: “My main priority as Mayor has been creating jobs and growth for Londoners, and I am pleased to welcome MassChallenge to London. […] We need to be ambitious with programmes like this to foster new ideas, create sustainable businesses and provide new jobs and apprenticeships.”

Applications for MassChallenge UK will open in the new year, to find out more click here.

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