About the programme

F astForward, the UK’s Pre-Accelerator Programme (FFWD for short) is an initiative by City University and the Accelerator Academy to prepare startup teams for first funding and successful application and entry to leading accelerators.
Delivered in one-day sprints, over a 6-week period, this interactive, hands-on programme is designed to cover key topics such as Tech, Marketing, Finance, and much more, using a blend of expert speakers and professional industry mentors.

The programme runs twice a year, with a spring and summer intake, participating teams will come together every Tuesday for an action-packed day of learning and doing. Over the course of the programme, participating teams will complete weekly business sprint sessions to fast track their ideas into viable startup ventures.

Our approach comprises of an eclectic toolkit which combines the best aspects of Lean Startup, Design Thinking, “MBA” analysis, common sense and street smarts. Ultimately, investors prefer evidence to talk, our programme will help you to build your credibility as a team by making sure you can show investors as much as the opportunity as possible instead of merely telling them.

PROGRAMME STRUCTURE
Week 1 What’s your problem? Sprint session: Define your minimum viable segment and the job you’ll do for them
Week 2 How are you going to solve it? Sprint session: Design your value proposition and build a minimum viable product (MVP)
Week 3 How will you find customers? Sprint session: Design and test your marketing channels
Week 4 What’s the plan of attack? Sprint session: Design your operations and begin recruiting the resources and partners you need
Week 5 What are your financial drivers? Sprint session: Identify the key financial drivers and metrics for your business
Week 6 How will you convince investors? Sprint session: Learn the basics of venture funding and craft a compelling pitch
SESSION STRUCTURE
8.30am – 9.45am Breakfast show and tell
10.00am – 11.30am Sprint briefing, Keynote talk
11.30am – 1.00pm Sprint session & lunch
2.00pm – 5.00pm 1-to-1 mentoring with industry experts
5.00pm – 5.30pm Regroup, recap and homework
5.30pm Close
Once the formal programme is over, you then have a couple of weeks to work on your ideas before being invited back to pitch to an invited audience of Accelerator managers, grant providers and early stage (SEIS) investors.

The Team

Thinkers and doers from the world of business and academia.

Ben Mumby-Croft

Ben Mumby-Croft

City University London View Details
Ian Merricks

Ian Merricks

Accelerator Academy View Details
Paul Sturrock

Paul Sturrock

Slingshot Venture Development View Details
Katie Lewis

Katie Lewis

View Details
 Andrew Huddart

Andrew Huddart

View Details
 Praveen Dhanda

Praveen Dhanda

View Details
Ben Mumby-Croft

Ben Mumby-Croft

City University London

Ben is an experienced enterprise educator with a passion for helping young (and not so young) entrepreneurs turn great ideas into successful start-ups.

Ben is currently responsible for Enterprise Education at City University London where he leads CityStarters, a University-wide initiative to provide extra-curricular enterprise and entrepreneurship education to all students.

In addition this, Ben is also the creator of Visual Marketing Plans – a business canvas style approach to marketing planning – and a seasoned marketer with 12 years’ experience helping entrepreneurs and high growth businesses to achieve their business goals through effective marketing strategy, branding and other intelligent sounding stuff like that.

Follow me: @benmumbycroft

Ian Merricks

Ian Merricks

Accelerator Academy

Entrepreneur Ian Merricks has launched numerous media, tech & finance businesses since ’95 and been a commercial and corporate troubleshooter for EMAP, IPC & The Wireless Group.
He is Managing Partner of White Horse Capital (VC investment and M&A) and sits on the investment committees of the Startup Funding Club and the Cabinet Office’s £10m Social Incubator Fund.
He is an advisor / board member for the British Computer Society, TMTConnect.me Corporate Ventures, Dell’s Centre for Entrepreneurs and The Entrepreneurs’ Network think tank.
In 2011 Ian launched the Accelerator Academy, whose exited entrepreneurs have supported the creation of 64 high growth startups, securing £10m of seed funding.

Follow me: @ianmerricks1

Paul Sturrock

Paul Sturrock

Slingshot Venture Development

I’ve spent my whole career leading the design and implementation of entrepreneurial strategy, or developing the capability of others to do so.

I founded Slingshot Venture Development in 2001 to help companies and individuals develop their entrepreneurial capacity and accelerate their ventures.

I’ve developed Simple Venture Design, an entrepreneurial toolkit which integrates creative tools such as Effectual Entrepreneurship, Design Thinking and Lean Startup with analytic ones. It’s become the the basis for teaching business design as a creative craft as opposed to an art or a science. I’ve used this approach to design bootcamps and courses for the London City Incubator, City University, Central Saint Martins, Scottish Institute for Enterprise, and Hong Kong University, and Wayra Madrid.

I have advised founders and early stage investors as a mentor, board director, and consultant.
My clients have included Boots, MIT Media Lab, the SETsquared Partnership, NESTA Investments, School for Startups and Imperial Innovations.

I started my career in with Advanced Cardiovascular Systems, the most successful medical startup in Silicon Valley history. My formative experience was as founding CFO for PSG, and intrapreneurial spinoff unit. After senior posts in Europe for Guidant, I left to become European Director for Gynecare, setting up their operations prior to a successful exit to J&J.

I then joined Gorilla Park, a pan-European technology accelerator and launched their venture investment and acceleration operations in Sweden as Managing Director.

Follow me: @Psturrock

Katie Lewis

Katie Lewis

Katie Lewis has joined The Accelerator Network to head up seed stage funding activity and programme delivery of FFWD and Accelerator Academy. Katie brings with her early stage Venture Capital experience, having worked with over 100 companies raising between £150k – £1m from a variety of sources.

Katie is co-founder of 9others, which delivers highly curated dinners for entrepreneurs to discuss the challenges they are facing in building their business. Prior to this she worked for a SME preparing it for a prosperous trade sale in 2010 and had a successful startup venture in New Zealand.

 Andrew Huddart

Andrew Huddart

Andrew Huddart joined City University London in 2009 after a period working as senior policy advisor to the New Zealand Minister of Research Science & Technology, coordinating cross-disciplinary innovation initiatives. His background includes financial journalism and consulting in the digital sector. Since joining the Enterprise group at City as Strategic Partnerships Manager he has been at the forefront of the University’s industry engagement with Tech City. He represents City on the board of London-wide economic development and skills alliance Capital Enterprise and is a key stakeholder in community festival Digital Shoreditch. Andrew is also an active Tech London Advocate, with a special interest in HealthTech.

 Praveen Dhanda

Praveen Dhanda

Parveen Dhanda has worked with a range of businesses, including large successful companies such as Honeywell, British Gas, Barclays and Schroders as well as being the COO of a leading IT consultancy company that specialised in migrating corporate clients to new IT platforms. She has lived the challenges that small businesses face and understand the importance of a powerful network.

She is currently the Chairwoman for the Cass Entrepreneurs Network (alumni group from Cass Business School), was involved in the launch of the Hangout (a co-working space for entrepreneurial students) and managing the City Innovation Incubator, overseeing the commercialisation of early stage high-growth firms with innovative technologies / business models (cleantech, digital media and medical devices) in preparation for investment.

FFWD UK’S PRE-ACCELERATOR PROGRAMME

City University London
Accelerator Academy
Capital Enterprise
European Union
Tech Stars
Ignite Accelerator
Entrepreneurial Spark
Oxygen Accelerator
The Bakery
True Start
Dot forge Accelerator
UCL Mobile Academy
Task Firm
Isis Innovation
Start Up Loans
Crowdcube

Location

Join us

 

Testimonials

  • FFWD surpassed my expectations with their amazing mentors and line-up of accelerator partners we got to pitch for at the end. If you’re an entrepreneur starting out, FFWD is definitely one of the first places you should start.

    Bar Segal
    Co-founder and COO of LoveThyChef
  • FFWD was a great experience for me. The team brought a wealth of knowledge and on-hands experience in how to create, market, and launch a start-up.

    Kitty Smyth
    Founder and CEO at Jingpinou
  • The FFWD programme has definitely opened my eyes and pushed me further to do more than I believed was possible. Thanks to all the FFWD team. It’s been a great experience!

    Miodrag Vidakovic
    Co-founder of Nudge
  • It was really good to work with the FFWD team as we structured the proposition for Percentile. The team provided valuable insight on communicating with impact and came with bags of energy to keep everyone on their toes. Great job a delivering a fantastic programme.

    Anthony Pereira
    Co-founder and CEO of Percentile
  • Everyone in the FFWD team has been incredibly helpful and a great point of contact to have when it comes to entering the startup world. I’d recommend FFWD to anyone who is in the early stages of creating a business.

    Dhruvin Patel
    Founder of Ocushield
  • FFWD surpassed my expectations with their amazing mentors and line-up of accelerator partners we got to pitch for at the end. If you’re an entrepreneur starting out, FFWD is definitely one of the first places you should start.

    Bar Segal
    Co-founder and COO of LoveThyChef
  • FFWD was a great experience for me. The team brought a wealth of knowledge and on-hands experience in how to create, market, and launch a start-up.

    Kitty Smyth
    Founder and CEO at Jingpinou
  • The FFWD programme has definitely opened my eyes and pushed me further to do more than I believed was possible. Thanks to all the FFWD team. It’s been a great experience!

    Miodrag Vidakovic
    Co-founder of Nudge
  • It was really good to work with the FFWD team as we structured the proposition for Percentile. The team provided valuable insight on communicating with impact and came with bags of energy to keep everyone on their toes. Great job a delivering a fantastic programme.

    Anthony Pereira
    Co-founder and CEO of Percentile
  • Everyone in the FFWD team has been incredibly helpful and a great point of contact to have when it comes to entering the startup world. I’d recommend FFWD to anyone who is in the early stages of creating a business.

    Dhruvin Patel
    Founder of Ocushield

Apply Now

What are you waiting for? If you have a great idea, a team, and the passion to make your startup happen then we want to hear from you