Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership

City Region invests in its entrepreneurial ambition

Published 21st September 2012 at 10:05am

On Thursday this week, a new programme to support startup businesses across the Sheffield City Region was launched during the MADE Festival.

Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Chairman James Newman unveiled dotforge accelerator on Thursday 20 September. The programme has attracted investment from Creative England and local private sector investors.

The programme will give startup businesses intensive mentoring and coaching from experienced entrepreneurs, as well as investing £25,000 of private venture capital in each new venture.

dotforge accelerator is expected to attract entrepreneurs from around the world to the City Region and aims to build a talent pool and community of globally connected high-growth businesses.

Dotforge accelerator will run two accelerator programmes in 2013, with a view to establishing a longer term programme in the future.

The announcement forms part of the MADE Festival, which has established itself as the country’s biggest and most inspiring festival of entrepreneurship. The dotforge accelerator brings together startups and investors, helping to cement a lasting legacy for the festival.

James Newman was joined at the launch by LEP Board Member and Internet Entrepreneur Lee Strafford who is a key advocate of this approach. They were also joined by successful startup entrepreneur Dom Lewis who will talk about the success of his company Tray, which benefited from a similar startup programme in London.

The accelerator is a 13 week intensive programme of mentoring and supporting up to ten early stage technology companies. Dotforge accelerator is 50% funded by Creative England, the national development agency that supports, develops and champions the creative industries outside London.

The remaining 50% of the programme funding will be met by private sector businesses and investors that can see the economic impact and wider value that an accelerator programme could have on the City Region. One such private sector partner is specialist broadband service provider Ask4. Jonathan Burrows, CEO and founder of the Sheffield-based company, will be attending the launch on Thursday.

The next Master Cutler, Neil MacDonald, has seen the potential of this exciting scheme for entrepreneurs in the City Region, and is giving the programme his full backing.

Sheffield City Region LEP commissioned MundoJumbo to develop the accelerator for the region, the programme will be delivered by Jag Goraya, CEO of MundoJumbo, and associate consultant Emma Cheshire in partnership with Jon Bradford, CEO of Springboard Accelerator.

Local Enterprise Partnership Chairman James Newman said:

“This programme will give digital leaders of tomorrow the mentoring, support and capital they need to get their ideas and technologies off the ground.

“The LEP recognises the potential of the creative and digital sector in creating sustainable employment and stimulating economic growth for the City Region.”

Jim Farmery, Creative England Director of Business Development, said:

“Creative England is delighted to be supporting the accelerator programme. I can’t wait to see what exciting and unexpected directions the startup businesses will take.

“This is our first venture with a LEP but we hope to unveil more in the months to come.”

To register for updates on the programme and find out how to get involved as a startup founder, a mentor or an investor visit


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