Tuesday, November 23, 2021

News: Transform SY - a new accelerator for South Yorkshire


An exciting new programme that is designed to support tech entrepreneurs to accelerate their business growth has launched in South Yorkshire.

Transform SY will form part of the ambitious TEAM SY project – a joint initiative between Capital Enterprise (a non-profit organisation striving to make the UK the best place to start a business) and Barnsley Council.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through TEAM SY in partnership with the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) and UKSE, TEAM SY will accelerate the development and market-making of a regional tech ecosystem.

The Transform SY programme, which will run throughout 2022 and aims to support 60 businesses, will be delivered by Entrepreneurial Spark, one of the first accelerators established in the United Kingdom back in 2012. This will be Entrepreneurial Spark’s 22nd accelerator, and their first opportunity for entrepreneurs in South Yorkshire. Other programmes have included a UK-wide network of hubs, programmes in Asia and Central America, and most recently the national Space Accelerator in partnership with the UK Space Agency.

Transform SY is open for applications and will recruit a first cohort of 20 entrepreneurs. The aim is to build a cohort of startups that represents South Yorkshire as a whole, with the diversity of skills, ages, ethnicity, and socio-economic background from across the region.

Founders that join the programme will be immersed in an intensive 6-month experience, using techniques honed from 40,000 hours of deep interaction with entrepreneurs globally. The accelerator is free of charge and no equity will be taken, to remove any financial barriers to participation. Participants will improve their ability and performance based on 4 outcomes:

- Mindset – Developing the way they think to create ambitious leaders
- Business – Creating a sustainable growth engine
- Funding – Exploring opportunities within, but also beyond private investment
- Community – Nurturing a network that transcends geography and is formative for future success and collaboration

Transform SY was born from the necessity to improve South Yorkshire’s entrepreneurial landscape, creating a critical mass of credible, visible, and diverse entrepreneurs to serve as leaders and role models in the community. In turn these founders will inspire others to start businesses and create opportunities by drawing funding and talent to the region. The programme aims to offer the opportunity for more people from all walks of life to become entrepreneurs, and to reduce the gaps between startups and funding bodies.

Transform SY is a result of a collaboration between public and private sectors. The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through TEAM SY in partnership with the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority and UKSE. All partners share a vision to deliver inclusive economic growth by driving up the success rate for entrepreneurs and contributing to a cultural shift that will lead to a more sustainable business ecosystem.

Mike Stephens, CEO of Entrepreneurial Spark, said: “South Yorkshire has been my home for many years, so I am delighted to be able to bring Entrepreneurial Spark to the region. Having worked with SMEs here for over ten years I have met some fantastic entrepreneurs, and this is a great opportunity to unearth more of them from communities throughout South Yorkshire. Entrepreneurs have a massive role to play in generating an inclusive economic recovery from the pandemic and mobilising them here has the potential to deliver this across the whole region.”

Darren Balcombe, deputy CEO of Capital Enterprise, added: “We are very excited to see Transform SY be announced. We want to see South Yorkshire's startup founders gain access to a programme that develops entrepreneurial leadership, whilst developing businesses and a lasting community.

TEAM SY is a key project that demonstrates how South Yorkshire is working to further grow its high value digital and tech cluster. As a region we are behind others in our startup rates and TEAM SY is responding to this by introducing fantastic accelerator programmes like Transform SY to create a strong, sustainable, and competitive entrepreneurial ecosystem."

Steve Lyon, Regional Executive for UKSE, said: “This is an exciting initiative that will further cement South Yorkshire as the place to be for tech enabled businesses spanning a whole range of sectors.

“The accelerator will provide participants with invaluable access to support and advice from a wealth of experts in their individual fields, helping to fuel sustainable growth and create further job opportunities in the region.

“UKSE is delighted to be involved and very much looking forward to meeting with the applicants in due course.”

Dan Jarvis, Mayor of South Yorkshire, added: “We are delighted to be partners of Transform South Yorkshire. Through our own plan for economic recovery and renewal, my MCA is working towards a stronger, greener, and fairer South Yorkshire. Transform South Yorkshire’s programme of support is an exciting opportunity for local founders to play their part too in our region’s recovery. This specific scheme will not only act as an accelerator for local entrepreneurs but puts inclusivity and sustainability at the heart of a broader programme of our local eco-business system. I am very pleased to see it launched.”

Businesses registered or economically active in South Yorkshire, founded less than three years ago and using technology in some way, are eligible to apply for Transform SY. Preference will be given to founders who are working on their business full-time and are post-proof of concept stage. Applications will be accepted until December 17 and the programme will commence on January 10 2022.

Transform SY website
TEAM SY website

Images: TEAM SY


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