Who should apply?
We’re looking for ambitious individuals who are committed to becoming entrepreneurs and driving their ideas forward. You should either have gained a technical qualification (since September 2016) at levels 3-5 from a Further Education college, or you should be an experienced mid/later career engineer who is seeking a career change. You should have an aptitude for creativity, problem solving and design and be passionate about the problem you’re solving and your innovation.
Do I have to be an engineer to apply?
You must have essential engineering or technical know-how to apply to the programme. This can either be through a qualification or engineering employment. You should have technical understanding in the area of your innovation.
What counts as an engineering innovation?
We define engineering in its broadest sense encompassing a wide range of diverse fields. We do not have a preference for any particular sector of engineering. Some examples of sectors we support are medtech, cleantech/sustanability tech, automotive, space and satellite, materials, AI, hardware. If you are not sure if your idea will count as engineering please contact the programme team to discuss.
Do you support software engineering innovations?
We are unable to support software engineering companies or SAAS unless
the tech involves a form of innovative/proprietary underpinning, i.e.
blockchain, AI or machine learning.
I have already set up a company, can I apply?
If the company you have set up is essentially a shell company, then yes you can apply. If you have already started raising investment then you are likely too advanced to benefit from this programme. You could consider instead the Enterprise Fellowships scheme or Shott Scale Up Accelerator.
My idea is for an app or website, can I apply?
An app or website is not in itself an innovation, they are methods of delivery. If there is an engineering innovation behind the app or website which could be protected as a form of intellectual property (such as a patent or know-how) then you may be eligible. As a simple test, if another company could easily replicate the app or website once they have seen it then it’s likely not an innovation. If you are unsure, please contact the programme team to discuss.
I wish to set up a consultancy, can I apply?
No. The programme aims to support new solutions which are scalable, whereas a consultancy based upon the specialist knowledge of a select number of individuals is not in this sense scalable, so you will not be able to make the best use of the support on offer. Consultancy may be your plan to sustain your new startup in the early stages, but it shouldn’t be your long term goal.
How well developed must my product or idea be?
You should already have an idea where the concept is formulated and you have identified a practical application for the innovation (ie TRL 2 or above). You should be at the stage where you need to refine your innovation, test the market, and validate your customer base. If you already have an MVP or you have more than a few limited sales, you will be too advanced for this programme.
Are there any regional restrictions?
Yes. You must be based in the region where you are applying to take part in the programme, and you must be committed to establishing your new startup in that region of the UK.
What is the time commitment?
The programme will be slightly different in each region. The phase one programme will begin in January 2022 and applicants must be able to commit for 6 months if they are then accepted onto phase two. In phase one you will be expected to attend approximately 5 days of training over the course of three weeks (subject to change per region), plus 1-2-1 catch ups and working on your project in your own time. In phase two, you will be expected to attend approximately seven days of training over the course of five months, plus coaching, mentoring and cohort roundtables plus other activities. This is a full time programme and you will be expected to spend the vast majority of time pursuing the aims of your startup.
Do you cover travel and accommodation costs?
For any mandatory programme activities, such as training days, travel costs will be covered. If you are successful in being accepted for phase two, you will be provided with funding support that will cover living costs and business costs over the programme period.
Where will the programme be based?
Each programme will be delivered in-region. Phase one will be delivered online. Phase two training days will be based at a venue. The cities we will deliver the programme in are Belfast, Liverpool, Newcastle and Leeds.
How will my application be assessed?
All applications will be checked for eligibility by the programme team and then reviewed by an assessment panel consisting of Fellows of the Academy and representatives of the entrepreneurship and engineering community. Applications will be reviewed against the criteria listed in the guidance notes. Selected applications may then be invited to a short interview, which will determine who is awarded. Progression to phase two will be decided by a judging panel at the end of phase one, who will assess the proposal against the criteria, and also the feasibility of next steps and a project plan.
Who will have access to my application?
The selection panel is made up of a number of reviewers who agree to a confidentiality agreement before they join the panel. If they declare a conflict of interest with any applicants, they will not have access to that particular application. Members of the Enterprise Hub team will also be able to view the applications. Details of the applications will be kept confidential within the review process.
What happens after the programme ends?
If you successfully complete the full programme you will be invited to become a Hub member, and you will continue to receive an exceptional package of lifetime support, including access to our facilities, training opportunities, PR and media support, network of investors, experts, advisors and Academy Fellows.
Are there any fees?
Places on the program are awarded without charge. We do not charge fees or take an equity stake.
For any further queries that are not answered in the guidance notes or the FAQs, please contact the programme team.