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Ready to scale? Join a community of 150+ tech startup leaders! Apply now for the Shott Scale Up Accelerator

Do you want to follow in the footsteps of 150 tech and engineering startup leaders who have raised more than £1 billion in investment, created 4,600 jobs and increased their valuations by over £1.7 billion?

That’s the impressive record of the Shott Scale Up Accelerator, which is aimed at the decision makers in tech and engineering SMEs who are ready to make the next step, helping them to complement their technical skills with the leadership they will need to scale successfully. Run by the Royal Academy of Engineers, it’s calling for applications for its next 12-month leadership programme, providing the skills and insight founders need to scale successfully.

Perhaps best of all for applicants, because it’s jointly funded by the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, and Ian Shott CBE FREng, it’s completely free, with no equity or IP taken, and participants can even get some of their costs of attendance covered!

An extensive offer

Successful candidates will benefit from a training programme throughout the year, along with additional 1:1 leadership coaching. They will also have access to mentoring from some of the UK’s leading engineers who’ve scaled companies many times over and a £10,000 training grant to pay for leadership courses.

While the benefits of the programme will last much longer than a year, participants will also get some much longer lasting practical benefits too. Successful candidates will enjoy lifetime membership to the Royal Academy’s Enterprise Hubs, as well as lifetime access to their co-working spaces in London and Belfast.

A key component of previous awardees successes

Previous participants have included Lightpoint Medical’s Head of Research Kunal Vyas, who said, “the learnings offered by the academy organised workshops, peer to peer learning and your chosen training course are complimented by world-class one-to-one coaching and mentoring that is incredibly empowering.” Together with Lightpoint Medical’s CEO, Dr David Touch, he went on to take the business to a successful exit, selling in a deal to Australian firm Telex Pharma worth up to $35 million.

Another alumnus, Vicky De Groof, went on to raise £18.5 million in a Series B round. She said that she applied to the Shott Start Up Accelerator to help her grow as a leader, adding “I feel the programme has achieved that! I feel more confident, have been given a range of practical and helpful tools, and met some lovely people on the way.”

Meanwhile, another participant, Dr Ian Campbell, credited the programme for more than just his personal growth, “following the programme, I’m stronger and more prepared than ever. Our business, Breathe Battery Technologies, and our customers are feeling the benefits, too.” Last year he took Breathe, a batterytech, through a $10 million Series A round, and just a few months ago announced a partnership with Volvo to include Breathe’s charging software in their fully electric cars.


The accelerator is also helping to increase diversity in the startup and engineering world. Although normally only one candidate is allowed per company, “one additional awardee associated with the same company will be considered if the candidate belongs to a group that is underrepresented within UK engineering,” says Cristina Lisii, programme lead. “Thanks to this criterion we’ve been able to attract additional applications from female, ethnic minority and applicants with more uncommon diversity characteristics.”

The Royal Academy of Engineering has been working to improve diversity through a range of programmes, bringing in people who are younger, from underrepresented backgrounds, and from other sectors to change the face of engineering.

They are also working hard to improve the geographical diversity of startups. “The Academy’s Enterprise Hub has been increasing its regional presence all over the UK, with local hubs operating in London, Belfast, Glasgow, Swansea and two new ones on the way to be opened in Liverpool and Newcastle,” says Cristina. The programme covers full travel costs for participants, making it more accessible for awardees who aren’t London-based. The approach has been having an impact, says Cristina, “we are pleased that on average 45% of all our applications come from outside the golden triangle of London, Cambridge, and Oxford.”

Do you have what it takes?

The key criteria for applications are that the candidate must be a high-level decision-maker for their business, based in the UK, and have raised at least £1 million through investment or turnover, or a combination of both. The full criteria are on the programme’s website.

Cristina also shared with TFN some other factors they will be looking for. “Ambition and capability of the individual to grow as a leader as well as to scale up the company,” was a key factor in being successfully selected, Cristina suggested. The Academy would also be seeking candidates that could demonstrate the self-awareness required to develop and take full advantage of the support offered.

However, they also want candidates that can offer something in return. Cristina says they will also be looking for “enthusiasm about, and real examples of, giving back to future generations of engineering leaders and a desire to contribute to the Academy’s aim of improving and promoting engineering excellence.”

How to apply

Applications are through the Royal Academy of Engineers grants system and close on 28 May. It’s an application that could radically change you and your startup, as previous awardee Kunal Vyas comments, “the programme has made me think about leadership as a transformative force that can elevate our organisation to new heights.”

New update: The deadline for the Shott Scale Up Accelerator applications has been extended to 5 June 2024 at 11pm. If you haven’t applied yet, now is your chance!

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