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Summer Accelerator

Made possible by Santander 

Spend your summer vacation working on launching your business with the support of the University behind you. If accepted onto the summer accelerator, you will receive:

  • a living allowance of £1,500 to cover eight weeks solely focusing on launching your business
  • use of a workspace for 8 weeks
  • access to support from the University and five hours of specialist business coaching

You should have a business or social enterprise idea in mind and be committed to putting it into practice over the Summer vacation. The idea should be your own, although applications from two or more students will be considered, again provided that the business idea belongs jointly to the students involved. Joint applications can only receive a single package of support. 

We do not expect you to fully develop a successful business in a ten week period. The Summer Accelerator is about exploring the idea to see if it might work on a longer term basis. Discovering that the idea is less viable than you first imagined is a perfectly valid outcome.

All successful applicants must keep a record of their experiences and be willing to share their learning from the experience with future applicants and other students.

Some of our 2020 cohort


Louis (left) Used the Summer Accelerator to develop his social media app. Louis says:

"I have developed my knowledge in programming, design, data structures, algorithms and developing a strong business plan. The Summer Accelerator added the benefit of not having to worry about being able to financially support myself over the summer – it added support to the growth of my business and meant that 13 to 18 hour days to get the business off the group were actually doable"

Louis plans to launch the software in beta as soon as possible.

Lauren and Kathryn (centre) met during an Explore Enterprise course and decided to take their idea to the next level. Lauren was apprehensive about applying but was glad she did.

"I felt anxious about my lack of experience and prior knowledge. I was nervous I would not be able to keep up with the course and potentially feel out of my depth. Once I began to discuss my idea with my coach I felt immediately at ease and I truly enjoyed working on my business and developing entrepreneurship skills."

They have developed a full business plan and are currently looking into options for funding the development of a prototype.

Christian (right) entered the Summer Accelerator after a successful Proof of Concept application. During the programme he has pivoted his security staff booking app several times according to customer feedback and market research - and has just booked his first paying customer. Reflecting on his coaching, Christian says:

"Working with my coach opened my eyes to some other avenues to go down for customer acquisition which hadn't been a part of my thinking before. Receiving the funding has also allowed me to experiment with different forms of lead-generation, including PPC advertising, allowing me to find the channel best suited to my business. Without the funding I wouldn't have been able to do this and most likely wouldn't have been able to consider any paid customer acquisition channels"

Who can apply?

This opportunity is open to registered students of the University of York, even if you are due to graduate this summer. Unfortunately, students on a Student/Tier 4 visa are not eligible to apply. However, if you are an international student interested in enterprise you can apply to remain in York after graduation on a Start-Up Visa

This is made possible by a generous gift from Santander. Santander, through Santander Universities, has been collaborating with over 1,200 universities and academic institutions around the world for over 20 years through an initiative that is one of a kind globally, and distinguishes it from other banks and financial institutions. University of York became a Santander Universities partner in 2011, and it is through this agreement that this opportunity has been made possible.

I'm interested - what next?

The applications for the 2021 Summer Accalerator has now closed. If you think you'd like to apply to be part of the next cohort in 2022 then keep up to date by following us on Handshake and Linkedin. There will be an information evening about the programme in mid April 2022.



Here are Joni and Fynn talking about how the Summer Accelerator programme gave them the support network they needed to improve their business.