24 April 2017

Accelerators and Incubators in the Sheffield City Region

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Jane Lambert

Following on from my article on accelerators and incubators in the Leeds City Region, I am taking a look at the accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces in the Sheffield City Region that appear in Nesta's directory for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (see Business Incubators and Accelerators Directory 20 April 2017 NIPC News). As I said in my previous article, accelerators and incubators help to launch fledgeling businesses but while accelerators offer structured development and training with opportunities to attract funding for the most attractive businesses, incubators are more like serviced offices with mentoring and other forms of business and technical support included in the package. I found two accelerators from South Yorkshire in the directory, five incubators and one co-working space.

The accelerators from the City Region that are listed in the directory are as follows:


I mentioned Dotforge in my article on Leeds. Its premises in Sheffield are at the Electric Works close to the bus and rail stations and the city campus of Sheffield Hallam University. As I said in my previous article, Dotforge measures a business's social impact as well as its commercial viability. The accelerator offers mentoring and workshops as well as investment.

According to the "About us" page of its website, the "Y" in Y-Accelerator stands for "Yorkshire". It claims to be "the UK’s first Global Manufacturing accelerator programme, built around Sheffield City Region’s worldwide reputation for excellence in advanced manufacturing." The Y-Accelerator programme has been developed by the Rotherham Investment Development Office (RiDO) and TRoom, a South Korean manufacturing and distribution company which was formed for the purpose of developing trade links between East Asia and Europe. Y-Accelerator offers a range of programmes for pre-startups, startups and established companies of varying duration. It cooperates with a number of partners including Sheffield and Rotherham metropolitan district councils, Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam Universities, the local enterprise partnership and a firm of solicitors.

Another firm of solicitors has promoted one of the City Regions's five incubators and Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam also have their own hatcheries as do RiDO and Barnsley Business & Innovation Centres ("BBIC").

Barnsley BIC
RIDO Launchpad
Sheffield Hallam University Hatchery
University of Sheffield Innovation
Wosskow Brown Foundation

I have already discussed BBIC at Wilthorpe in my article on accelerators and incubators in Leeds. The reason I mention it again is that Barnsley finds itself in both Leeds and Sheffield City Regions. As I said in my previous article, I work closely with BBIC and am about to expand my activities with regular lunchtime workshops the first of which will be "How can I protect my business idea?" on 9 May 2017 (see Lunchtime Talk - "How can I protect my Business Idea?" Barnsley BIC 9 May 2017 12-15-13-15 21 April 2017).

RiDO offers a bespoke package of support for pre-start and early stage businesses through the Sheffield City Region Launchpad programme which includes regular workshop and one-to-one sessions with a business advisor. Sheffield's two universities provide office, lab space and technical and business support for new businesses.  Sheffield University's is known as USI (University of Sheffield Innovation). Sheffield Hallam's is known as The Hatchery. The Wosskow Brown Foundation was established by the Wossskow Brown law firm to support local business, charities and sports clubs. Its first initiative is the WB 100 which aims to assist 100 businesses, 100 charities or social enterprises and 100 individuals in grassroots sports through a formal programme and ad hoc support as they need it between 2015 and 2019. Its beneficiaries appear on the beneficiaries page of the foundation's website.

Nesta's researchers identified one co-working space, namely the Showroom and Workstation for businesses in the creative and digital sectors at Paternoster Square in Sheffield. The Showroom and Workstation offer a range of business support services and office space for businesses under 18 months old known as Studio 505. Hot desking, virtual office services and office rental services are also available.

Anyone who wants to discuss this article or startup support in general can call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form, Readers may also be interested in my accelerators and incubators resources page on my Inventors Club blog.