RGU launches Innovation Accelerator to solve key societal challenges

Monday 16 November 2020

Startup Accelerator cohort 2020
Robert Gordon University (RGU) is opening applications for its 2021 Innovation Accelerator programme to invite ambitious ideas from students, staff and alumni which can create positive impact across three significant challenges in our society.

This year, the focus of the annual competition recognises the University’s role not just to the economic prosperity of the region, but the need to innovate in solving social problems which have impacted on individuals and communities, many exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

RGU’s two previous Accelerator programmes focused on creating scalable start-ups. Since its launch in 2018, the programme has supported 46 businesses with over £1.4 million raised in investment and revenue.

Recognising the dramatic change the world has undergone as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the accelerator programme at RGU has evolved to uncover new ideas that solve at least one of three major challenges facing the world and demonstrate both impactful and scalable solutions.

The three challenges fall into the categories of; our society, which involves seeking creative responses to the challenges of Covid-19 and its impact on education, cities, healthcare, businesses and our communities; our people which involves seeking ambitious ideas to tackle inequality in our society and reduce poverty, give children better outcomes and empower communities; and our wellbeing which involves seeking bold innovations which prepare our healthcare systems for the future and tackle our personal health and mental wellbeing challenges. In addition, all ideas accepted to the programme will need to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and having a net-zero impact on our environment.

Chris Moule, head of the entrepreneurship and innovation group at RGU, said: “The challenges of this year provide fertile ground for new thinking and exploration. Now more than ever, we need to seek out innovators who can have a positive impact on the world.

“As always, we are looking for a diversity of ideas from every subject area – but this year, we have introduced these impact challenges as responsible entrepreneurship can provide agile, accelerated and impactful innovation in significant areas that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and to Public Health Scotland.

“We continue to build a community of innovators and entrepreneurs at RGU who want to explore and experiment. A place that embraces new thinking and curiosity. As we continue to embed innovation throughout the region, we have a responsibility to create programmes which contribute to the challenges we in see in our daily lives, our communities and wider society.”

Applications open today (Monday 16th Nov) and close on January 17, 2021, and is open to students, staff and alumni from RGU or NESCol. It will be delivered online from February to June and 12 new start ups, spinouts and projects will be chosen to participate and access training, mentorship, and provided with seed funding to validate their proposition.

The RGU Startup Accelerator was launched thanks to generous funding from the Wood Foundation. The competition has seen two cohorts run from January to May in 2019 and 2020. Previous participants have included Udrafter an online micro-internship platform who went onto raise £300k in crowdfunding and Knit-It, an innovative digital knitting company, who earlier this year picked up the Young and Creative Scottish Edge awards. 

RGU’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group, who run the accelerator programme, were awarded the Herald Higher Education Award in 2019 for Outstanding Business Engagement and contributed to the university being shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Outstanding Entrepreneurial University Award 2020.

For more information on the RGU’s 2021 Innovation Accelerator, and how to apply, please visit: www.rgu.ac.uk/accelerator 

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