New Accelerator Programme Offers To Help Supercharge Mission-Driven Barnsley Businesses

21/07/2022 | Matt Snowden

Could your business be one of 15 chosen to spearhead a brand new accelerator programme for the north of England?

Successful London start up accelerator Unrest has picked South Yorkshire as the base for its next programme to supercharge businesses – and wants to hear from Barnsley consumer driven companies.

The accelerator, which ran its first programme in London and helped develop 16 businesses with goals including green agendas, diversity, fertility, improved mental health, will run its next hub from Sheffield and wants businesses from across Barnsley to apply. The South Yorkshire Unrest Programme will start in September, and annually aims to support up to 30 North England-based, consumer-driven startups which positively impact on people’s lives.

By supporting these start-ups in its first programme outside of London, Unrest hopes to tip the scales of investment and growth, accelerating businesses forward through workshops, one-to-ones, access to a similar business community and through exclusive opportunities with its partners.

It will be delivered in partnership with Capital Enterprise (UK) Limited and Barnsley Council, and is part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund.

Orr Vinegold, Unrest Founder, said: “We first started in London in 2021 to support and accelerate start-ups changing the world. We champion diversity of thought, background, and geography to support more businesses that reflect the makeup of our communities. And this is why we have chosen to expand to build our next impact accelerator programmes within South Yorkshire.

“Businesses that have a positive impact on the world, now hold the influence, power and potential to accelerate change and leave the planet better than they found it and make a meaningful difference.

“Consumer demand for impact-driven brands is growing at a record-breaking pace with investment in these companies increasing six-fold from 2011 to 2019 — reaching over £5bn a year by the end of the decade.

“Venture capital investors are avidly looking for purposeful brands with high growth potential — but none of the existing players are moving into the impact and consumer territory with a clear brand message — resulting in a shortage of investable start-ups in this space.”

In 2021, over 68% of all UK investment went solely to companies based in London, with the next largest investment region (the South East), receiving only 10%. This investment imbalance hinders start-up diversity and distribution of wealth within the UK. In contrast, less than 1% of all UK investment went to Yorkshire, despite amazing businesses growing out of the region.

Orr added: “Not only does the Unrest programme aim to target and improve this imbalance in opportunity – there’s a genuine flurry of purpose driven start-ups coming from Yorkshire and the North. Data shows that 20% of impact companies are started in Yorkshire.”

Cllr Robert Frost, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture at Barnsley Council, said: “This is a brilliant programme for our region and for the TeamSY project, and we hope to see a number of Barnsley businesses benefit from this. The accelerator is great for supporting businesses already creating a positive impact and opening them up to better investment potential.”

Laura Bennett, Regional Lead, Capital Enterprise (UK) Limited, added: “Yorkshire is proudly supportive of social impact initiatives and mission-driven projects, and we have a long tradition of social enterprises founded here, working to support our communities and reduce inequalities.

“We are thrilled that Unrest are bringing their expertise, experience, and networks to the region to supercharge 30 mission-driven businesses to think big and act globally – taking South Yorkshire ingenuity and passion for social good to a national and international audience.”

Unrest will run the South Yorkshire Programme in tandem with their London programme, with crossover events. At the end of the programme, startups from South Yorkshire will be invited to London to pitch alongside their London cohort counterparts at an investor-filled Demo Day.

The last Unrest demo day saw over 100 investors on the guest list including Big Society Capital, Balderton Capital, Beringea, Saatchi Invest, Qventures and Mission Ventures.

Orr Vinegold added: “This programme focuses on exponentially growing the right businesses that deserve to make a difference. We’re dedicated to building the next generation of mission-driven companies, turning businesses into a force for good. We can’t wait to help accelerate the next cohort of start-ups from South Yorkshire that are looking to change the world.”

The Unrest programme has already incubated 16 brands including Bea Fertility, the first at-home fertility treatment, making ICI fertility treatment accessible and affordable, now cited as one of WIRED’s 2021 100 Hottest Start-ups in Europe and has raised $1m in funding.

Béa Fertility added: “Unrest’s advice is invaluable, they were always there when we needed help, and they put a lot of work into building an impactful and relevant programme for us. This was the perfect environment to grow our team, and I’m sure any impact-driven startup would benefit as much as we did.”

To apply, fill out the short application form online, in less than seven minutes, by August 15, 2022 @ Unrest do not require a pitch or business plan, just a few simple answers about your existing business.

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