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New report highlights opportunity for York-based business accelerator

Posted on 10 November 2020

The University of York has partnered in a report that suggests there is a need for the development of a York-based business accelerator to expand the City’s technology capabilities.

YorkThe report showed an appetite for a York-based business accelerator.

In a report from Whitecap Consulting, published also in partnership with City of York, claims the development of a business accelerator would position York as an entrepreneurial location and a key part of the wider innovation ecosystem across the north. 

The report, which is the result of a consultative process involving approximately 100 stakeholders, assesses the appetite and opportunity for a business accelerator to deliver job growth, attract new inward investment and to support the expansion of York’s innovation and technology ecosystem. It finds that an accelerator could enable and support tech startups to succeed in the city and attract additional high-value inward investment. 

Key stakeholders from the organisations consulted in the research process recognised the benefits of developing stronger local innovation capabilities and collaboration opportunities between startups and the universities. 

High-skilled jobs

They communicated a desire to see the creation of significant numbers of high-value and high-skilled jobs aligned to key growth sectors and national and international trends. The supply of talent and skills in York is already considered to be strong, with 70% of participants in an online survey conducted as part of the research rating the availability of talent and skills in York positively.

Professor Kiran Trehan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Partnerships and Engagement at the University of York, said: “The UK Government has set out clearly its desire to ‘level up’ the UK’s economy by seeking opportunities to invest in the North. It has also been clear that research and innovation is a route to economic success that we need to harness new ideas and technologies to make the UK a R&D superpower. 

“Those ambitions are all the more pressing now that the economy has suffered its largest contraction in a hundred years due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. We need to recover quickly and recover well. The University of York is well set to play a major role in supporting those ambitions.” 


The report highlights that York needs to improve its attraction for investors and drive high-value inward investments similar to other successful northern cities, and identifies a number of areas for consideration including: leadership; physical space; startup selection process/criteria; mentorship; IP protection; and collaboration. The proposed next step is to conduct a more detailed feasibility study. 

The report can be downloaded here:

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