Accelerator programme gives Belfast start-ups a chance to 'Raise' their game

Jenny Ervine from Raise with entrepreneurs Marty Neill and Michael McDowell

A GROUP of key business figures has launched an industry first with a business development programme named Raise Accelerator, based in Belfast's thriving Cathedral Quarter.

Working with a team of business experts and investors, the intensive six-month programme offers six start-ups the opportunity to get their business idea investor-ready, in return for a six per cent stake in their business.

The programme has already led to several success stories, from securing investor funding to helping launch a new brand to global markets.

Jenny Ervine of Raise Ventures said: “We're looking for founders with a start-up idea, who have identified an opportunity to scale that idea into a large addressable market.

“They must have some understanding of the problem they are trying to solve, the route to market, how they will generate revenue from their idea, as well as some knowledge of who their competitors are.

“From the first Raise accelerator programme intake we have three great success stories in innovative legislative software firm Armour; SWIS, an app that pauses playback on podcasts or audiobooks when you fall asleep; and Batch Buddy, which has developed an e-commerce website and opened pre-orders for its new innovative cocktail batching product.

“Start-ups on our programme have joined sessions to prepare them for running their business operations, beyond the writing of a business plan, with a view to making them smarter and more adaptable.”

Applications for the current programme are already open at and continue to Monday August 5.

Matt Johnston, Jenny Ervine, Marty Neill, Michael McDowell and David Kirk, who are all experienced entrepreneurs, will help validate ideas.

First stage interviews take place on the week beginning Monday August 12, the final selection follows a fortnight later, and the programme commences on Monday September 2.

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