New support network for start-up accelerators across Europe launches

2 Jul 2013

Startup Europe’s Accelerator Assembly is a new network for start-up accelerators and tech start-ups across Europe. An industry group of 20 accelerator programmes, including TechStars and Startup Weekend, launched the network today.

The aim of the network will be to connect programmes, generate new research on accelerators and start-up growth, and strengthen the policy debate to improve the environment for web entrepreneurship in Europe.

Other entities that are backing the Accelerator Assembly to share their expertise and knowledge are Seedcamp, Bethnal Green Ventures, Seed-DB, Nesta and How to Web.

The new network is being supported by the European Commission.

European start-up ecosystem

In Europe, in particular, accelerators are a rapidly growing form of start-up support.

In Ireland for instance, three accelerators were named among Europe’s top incubators for start-ups in 2011. These were the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC), Startupbootcamp (this year its focus was on med-tech start-ups); and the Propeller programme at DCU Ryan Academy.

Other Irish-based start-up incubators include Arclabs at Waterford Institute of Technology; DIT Hothouse, the Rubicon Centre in Cork, the Guinness Enterprise Centre in Dublin, Selr8r in Cork; Wayra in Dublin, Dogpatch Labs in Dublin, NovaUCD, the New Frontiers programme supported by Enterprise Ireland and run at institutes of technology around the country; and the Ignite programme at University College Cork.

In addition, there’s the Genesis enterprise programme in the south-east; Enterprise Ireland’s iGap programme; Invent at DCU; NUI Galway Business Innovation Centre; the Nexus Innovation Centre at University of Limerick; Media Cube at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) in Dublin; the Tom Crean Business Centre at IT Tralee; and CoLab at Letterkenny Institute of Technology.

Such incubators typically offer teams of entrepreneurs money, space, advice and support over a set time-frame, often between 12 weeks and six months.

The aim is to help teams start up enterprises fast to quickly become investment ready and achieve rapid growth.

Web entrepreneurs are the future – Neelie Kroes

European Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes believes Europe’s hope for its economic future lies in start-ups, innovators and entrepreneurs.

“Web entrepreneurs will play a vital role in creating tomorrow’s ideas, tomorrow’s jobs and tomorrow’s economic growth,” she said in a statement today.

“Using innovative technologies and platforms, they build products, create services and develop a multitude of solutions which improve and enrich our professional and private lives on a daily basis.”

For this reason, she says the aim is to work on strengthening the environment for web entrepreneurs in Europe.

“Supporting accelerators to deliver high-impact programmes is a key part of this,” said Kroes.

Business planning image via Shutterstock

Business planning image via Shutterstock

Released in 2011, Nesta’s Startup Factories report identified 16 seed accelerators in Europe.

This has more than doubled to 34 accelerators running in 2013, according to Seed-DB.  

These accelerators have supported 327 start-ups across Europe, and these start-ups have created 909 jobs and raised a total of US$89,327,090 in funding, according to Seed-DB.

Carlos Espinal, partner at Seedcamp and one of the leading partners of the Accelerator Assembly, said accelerators have now become a key component of early stage start-up support and a driver for any ecosystem’s economic progress.

“We know our programmes have a significant impact on start-up growth, but the Accelerator Assembly will help to improve the networking between programmes and share research and evidence on exactly what works and why, so that we can share best practises, improve transparency, and ultimately, create more successful and sustainable start-ups in Europe,” said Espinal.

Three goals

The three main activities of the Accelerator Assembly will be:

  1. An online Yammer forum, sponsored by Microsoft Ventures and Yammer. This will allow programmes and policy-makers to connect.
  2. New research on accelerator graduates and accelerator programmes in Europe.
  3. The hosting of a European Accelerator conference in early 2014.

Accelerator programmes can around Europe can now join the Accelerator Assembly.

Start-up image
via Shutterstock

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic