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The Accelerator

Our objective is to connect with radical entrepreneurs who want to make change and to help them build businesses and social enterprises that help deliver our goal of making Exeter congestion free and energy independent by 2025.

The complexity of the networks in the City are so strong that it can be hard for start-ups and social entrepreneurs to get access to the people who understand the value of what they do.

Exeter City Futures has spent the past two years building deep networks and understanding into how the City of Exeter and the surrounding travel-to-work region works. We understand the seats and routes of power to make change in the City, we know how decisions are made and how purchasing is done. Through our relationship with City Science Corp, we are also beginning to understand how traffic flows, the breakdown of our energy demand and how all this affects the City economy.

As part of our Urban Impact Accelerator Exeter City Futures will guide you through how our City runs, we will introduce you to people and customers, we will help you understand and access these networks.

Our challenges are underpinned by insights from our region’s data and residents, so right from the start you will be working on a solution to a real need. Plus we will support you with accessing the latest data and analysis and champion your ideas to help you develop sustainable, impactful solutions that work, not only in Exeter, but across the globe.

So, whether you are a team with aspirations to be a venture capital backed tech start-up, a social enterprise or a commercial interest company, as long as you can show that you understand how to make sustainable impact, we look forward to working with you.


What’s the deal?

We are seeking applications from teams of 2-4 people who want to make a genuine and sustainable difference to transport and energy use in Exeter.

Successful applicants will get grants of up to £15,000 to help get started.

You will benefit from access to a 15 week programme that offers a bespoke package of support depending on what you need; for example, one-on-one coaching sessions, investor interactions, forge brand identity, nail pitches.

Challenges may have specific resources allocated to them, such as access to building data, housing stock, vehicles and data sources. This will accelerate the validation of your solution and to show that you can deliver the suggested impact on our targets and deploy at scale with a sustainable revenue model.

Like many other programmes Exeter City Futures accelerator programme all culminates in a Demo Day which will be attended by investors and potential customers.

At Demo Day teams have the opportunity to pitch for up to a further £200k in return for equity stake (value to be confirmed) – you might also even pick up a contract there and then!

It’s vital that ideas with real potential progress to deliver impact on our energy and congestion goals and transform our City, so our support doesn’t stop here. Successful teams with seed funding will be able to access ongoing, targeted support as part of our Scale-Up programme.


Benefits For Startups

  • Chance to develop products and services that address complex local challenges
  • Work alongside City leadership to create solutions that have positive impact on the City and people who live and work there
  • Receive mentorship from experts and City leaders
  • Work with real data and access real buildings, transport systems and user groups to help validate ideas
  • Fast-track procurement process that can lead to contract at the end of the programme


Benefits For City Authorities

  • Opportunity to showcase the City leadership as a driver of innovation and a model of data-driven decision making
  • Help drive bold innovation, change culture and tackle big problems
  • Route to turn innovative ideas into reality
  • Find solutions that give confidence and opportunity to make change
  • Exposure to effective innovation to empower officers to approach challenges in new ways with minimal risk


Benefits For Residents

  • Have a clear voice in defining the way the City transforms
  • Drive a culture of analysing the problem
  • Chance to be part of defining the route cause of the problems the City faces
  • Help to turn good ideas into valuable solutions to social issues
  • Meet entrepreneurs and input to solutions that are being built for you