About the programme

FastForward, the UK's Pre-Accelerator Programme (FFWD for short) is an initiative backed by The Accelerator Network and Capital Enterprise to prepare startup teams for first funding and successful application and entry to leading accelerators.

D elivered 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 once a week 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 – 5/02/19 What’s your problem? Sprint session: Define your minimum viable segment and the job you’ll do for them
Week 2 – 12/02/19 How are you going to solve it? Sprint session: Design your value proposition and build a minimum viable product (MVP)
Week 3 – 19/02/19 How will you find customers? Sprint session: Design and test your marketing channels
Week 4 – 26/02/19 What’s the plan of attack? Sprint session: Design your operations and begin recruiting the resources and partners you need
Week 5 – 5/03/19 What are your financial drivers? Sprint session: Identify the key financial drivers and metrics for your business
Week 6 – 12/03/19 How will you convince investors? Sprint session: Learn the basics of venture funding and craft a compelling pitch

 

SESSION STRUCTURE
8.30am – 10.00am  Tea & Coffee, Show and Tell
10.00am – 12.00pm Sprint briefing & Keynote talk
12.00pm – 1.00pm Sprint session & working lunch
1.00pm – 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, we break for a couple of weeks during which you can work on your ideas before being invited back to pitch to an invited audience of Accelerator managers, grant providers and early stage (SEIS) investors on the 4th April 2019.

The Team

Thinkers and doers from the world of business and academia.

Katie Lewis

Katie Lewis

View Details
Paul Sturrock

Paul Sturrock

Slingshot Venture Development View Details
Ian Merricks

Ian Merricks

View Details
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.

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

Ian Merricks

Ian Merricks

Ian Merricks
is the chair of The Accelerator Network and founder of the Accelerator Academy, Ian Merricks is deeply involved in the UK start-up community and early stage investment space as an investor, advisor, and operator.
In his 17 years of experience within the Tech, Media & Telecoms market, he has launched a music PR agency, 2 record labels, and 16 radio stations. He also created a network of best-selling city guide books and websites, a youth promotions agency, an academic contract publishing business, a B2B media planning and buying agency, and a tech investment advisory business. Along the way, he has also worked with the boards of FTSE100 companies like EMAP, as well as IPC and The Wireless Group as a commercial and corporate troubleshooter. He has been involved in raising over £45m of equity and debt in corporate deals, and has advised on £52m of M&A transactions this year alone.

FFWD UK’S PRE-ACCELERATOR PROGRAMME

London South Bank University
University College London
Accelerator Academy
Capital Enterprise
LMarks
Ignite Accelerator
Entrepreneurial Spark
Emerge Education
The Bakery
B2B
Dot forge Accelerator
Loughborough University London
Marriott Harrison
Start Up Loans
Cinnamon Bridge
Bethnal Green Ventures
MSV
ICAEW
Collider
BCS
cpg
OneTech
MassChallenge
L39
Work.Life
Innovation Warehouse
Wayra
F6S
Grocery Accelerator
Health Foundry

 

Tech Stars
True Start
Bloom Space
HuckleTree

 

Chartered Institute of Marketing
Crowdcube
Dot Matrix Group
Forward Partners
Seedrs

 

 

Location

Loughborough University London

3 Lesney Avenue, The Broadcast Centre, Here East Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London E15 2GZ

Testimonials

  • Before joining I was unsure about the value I would gain from FFWD, but have to say that the experience has been extremely beneficial both for developing Screena, and for the learning experience that will shape my approach to other projects.  This was apparent right from the first week!

    Kelly Smith
    Founder of Screena
  • The whole experience was invaluable, from the keynote speeches to the 1:1 mentoring. Being amongst other start-ups was great, and the Fast Forward team were lovely!

    Arjun Agarwal
    Founder of OrgStem
  • FFWD put us through our paces, provided us with the framework to develop our proposition and most importantly focussed us as a team to build our business. It was an excellent programme, which I would recommend any early stage startup to join.

    Thomas Spencer
    Founder of Spence App
  • 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
  • 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
  • The programme really took us out of our comfort zone and challenged us from the start. Being very traditional bankers it really made us look at our offering through a different set of lens.

    Alberto Mariconda
    Co-Founder of Duality Banx
  • You have an idea and need a team of people to help you turn it into a business plan ready for investment, then FFWD will take you there.

    Benedicte Ennis
    Co-Founder of ThingK
  • Fast Forward was a great program for us and really helped give us with structure and mentoring to focus on our business. The Fast Forward team were awesome and on a weekly basis we had really experienced and qualified mentors to help talk through our strategies & address our problems in an honest and constructive way. Would definitely recommend to any early stage start-up!

    Olamide Sule
    Founder of Jetsetter Jobs
  • A fantastic way to get all the tools required to make an idea a reality. Very knowledgeable and supportive mentors who are more than happy to share their experience and offer guidance.

    Jon Wooddin
    Founder & CEO of Smoovr
  • FFWD is a brilliant way to force yourself to evolve from an idea into a viable business model. The combination of structure, time pressure, clearly defined stages and mentoring is a fantastic way to iterate rapidly and take a leap forward to a point where you have the clarity and confidence to talk to other interested parties whether advisors, mentors or investors. I recommend it to anyone who has a business idea and would like to validate it quickly.

    John Zaheer-Flaherty
    Founder & CEO of The Wide Awake Club
  • Every business journey starts with the first step and FFWD is there to put you on the right path.

    Jack Mulcahy
    Founder & CEO of ContractorIT
  • An extremely talented, experienced team delivering invaluable lessons in making your startup successful, along with key introductions to the people who could help you on your journey.

    Sue Green
    Founder & CEO of FitterSphere
  • Without a doubt a fantastic programme to do when you’re still at the idea stage of your startup. Fantastic well-connected and experienced mentors who are not afraid to tell you honestly what they think. The structure of the programme is great and we really feel we progressed from week to week, including our pivot at the end. It definitely saved us months and months of time where we would have been fumbling in the dark for ages not knowing what to prioritise first.

    Zaina Soogun-Shah & Dharmesh Shah
    Founders of Ambel8
  • FFWD is the startup bootcamp every early entrepreneur needs to get them asking themselves all the right questions in preparation for the wild journey into the startup world. Don’t expect an easy ride – you are challenged pushed, and wholeheartedly supported all the way through. A thousand thank yous to the FFWD team, who really do go the extra mile. 

    Sarah Ticho
    Founder of Hatsumi
  • The FFWD programme was a real eye-opener for me. It required me to reevaluate many of my business assumptions and raise my game, resulting in a much clearer strategy and understanding of what it will take to succeed. The team worked hard to challenge and coach in equal measure and I can highly recommend the programme to any founder considering a structured approach to learning and networking.

    Phil Guest
    Founder of Revcelerate
  • Prior to Fast Forward, Branch Brush was just a sapling. The programme allowed us to be present with like minded individuals, gain validation and contacts through mentor sessions and talks. We were able to build up our confidence not only within the brand but within ourselves. We now see the importance in having the right guidance to push us in the right direction. Thanks to Fast Forward we are on the track from sapling to tree.

    Julieta Ahmedze
    Co-Founder of Branch Brush
  • Without bringing enrolled into the FFWD 2018 PTG would quite simply not be on the same path it now currently is, we learnt so much whilst being enrolled on the course not just about business and how to create a proper business model but also about ourselves and what each member of the team succeeded at.

    Thomas Gray
    Co-Founder of PTG Architectural Technology
  • I represented my newly created start-up Prowexx at FFWD Summer 18 Programme. The overall experience was very useful and informative. Through the programme, I met other entrepreneurs at the same stage of development for their companies and exchanged many good ideas. Katie has done a tremendous job in setting up the Programme so thank you very much and thanks to Paul, Luigi, Jake and everyone else involved

    Rached Khanfir
    Co-Founder of Prowexx
  • FFWD is THE place for getting honest and no-nonsense scrutiny of your business ideas. It helped us evaluate and validate any assumptions we made (which is more common than it seems), which is of paramount importance for building a strong foundation for any business. The entire FFWD team and the mentors’ advice was instrumental in making a strong base for our business idea to be built upon

    Rohan Satpute
    Co-Founder of Percept Imagery
  • Before FFWD I knew nothing. I knew I had the ambition and drive to become the Founder and CEO I know I can be, but the truth is I found even the prospect of quitting my job as a lawyer and going for it very daunting.  Looking back, I can’t believe how much I have learnt in such a short period of time. From the very first session, I began to learn what it takes to build a start up. The FFWD model is both interactive and bespoke, forcing participants to wrestle with the most difficult questions from day 1. For instance, by getting me to validate my assumptions by going out and speaking to clients, in order to frame the ‘job to be done’, compelled me to pivot and adapt in order to ensure I was building a product that was in need rather than build my product and hope the clients will come.

  • I want to thank Katie and the team for their efforts in helping to get me started. Since completing the course, I have raised my first seed round, set up my first office with my co-founder, got onto the accelerator I wanted to, and am now in the process of rolling out trials for our software. The bottom line is, if you want to accelerate your start-up, choose FFWD!Moktar Alqaderi
    Co-Founder of Progressay
  • Fast forward is a programme that I believe every start-up needs to enrol in. It’s unique to other programmes because it does not just fill you up with information. But instead it practically breaks your business down to the build it up again. Every week there is an in depth assignment given that leads to the positive growth of your business and after the six weeks, it’s so phenomenal to loo back and see the growth achieved through this programme. Another great thing about this programme is the like-minded individuals that you get to surround yourself with. It encourages you and reassures you that you are on the right path as they mostly all possess the same level of passion about their idea than you do about it. Fast Forward is truly an inspiring programme FFWD!

    Christina Akintoye
    Founder of Honey Skincare
  • Before joining I was unsure about the value I would gain from FFWD, but have to say that the experience has been extremely beneficial both for developing Screena, and for the learning experience that will shape my approach to other projects.  This was apparent right from the first week!

    Kelly Smith
    Founder of Screena
  • The whole experience was invaluable, from the keynote speeches to the 1:1 mentoring. Being amongst other start-ups was great, and the Fast Forward team were lovely!

    Arjun Agarwal
    Founder of OrgStem
  • FFWD put us through our paces, provided us with the framework to develop our proposition and most importantly focussed us as a team to build our business. It was an excellent programme, which I would recommend any early stage startup to join.

    Thomas Spencer
    Founder of Spence App
  • 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
  • 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
  • The programme really took us out of our comfort zone and challenged us from the start. Being very traditional bankers it really made us look at our offering through a different set of lens.

    Alberto Mariconda
    Co-Founder of Duality Banx
  • You have an idea and need a team of people to help you turn it into a business plan ready for investment, then FFWD will take you there.

    Benedicte Ennis
    Co-Founder of ThingK
  • Fast Forward was a great program for us and really helped give us with structure and mentoring to focus on our business. The Fast Forward team were awesome and on a weekly basis we had really experienced and qualified mentors to help talk through our strategies & address our problems in an honest and constructive way. Would definitely recommend to any early stage start-up!

    Olamide Sule
    Founder of Jetsetter Jobs
  • A fantastic way to get all the tools required to make an idea a reality. Very knowledgeable and supportive mentors who are more than happy to share their experience and offer guidance.

    Jon Wooddin
    Founder & CEO of Smoovr
  • FFWD is a brilliant way to force yourself to evolve from an idea into a viable business model. The combination of structure, time pressure, clearly defined stages and mentoring is a fantastic way to iterate rapidly and take a leap forward to a point where you have the clarity and confidence to talk to other interested parties whether advisors, mentors or investors. I recommend it to anyone who has a business idea and would like to validate it quickly.

    John Zaheer-Flaherty
    Founder & CEO of The Wide Awake Club
  • Every business journey starts with the first step and FFWD is there to put you on the right path.

    Jack Mulcahy
    Founder & CEO of ContractorIT
  • An extremely talented, experienced team delivering invaluable lessons in making your startup successful, along with key introductions to the people who could help you on your journey.

    Sue Green
    Founder & CEO of FitterSphere
  • Without a doubt a fantastic programme to do when you’re still at the idea stage of your startup. Fantastic well-connected and experienced mentors who are not afraid to tell you honestly what they think. The structure of the programme is great and we really feel we progressed from week to week, including our pivot at the end. It definitely saved us months and months of time where we would have been fumbling in the dark for ages not knowing what to prioritise first.

    Zaina Soogun-Shah & Dharmesh Shah
    Founders of Ambel8
  • FFWD is the startup bootcamp every early entrepreneur needs to get them asking themselves all the right questions in preparation for the wild journey into the startup world. Don’t expect an easy ride – you are challenged pushed, and wholeheartedly supported all the way through. A thousand thank yous to the FFWD team, who really do go the extra mile. 

    Sarah Ticho
    Founder of Hatsumi
  • The FFWD programme was a real eye-opener for me. It required me to reevaluate many of my business assumptions and raise my game, resulting in a much clearer strategy and understanding of what it will take to succeed. The team worked hard to challenge and coach in equal measure and I can highly recommend the programme to any founder considering a structured approach to learning and networking.

    Phil Guest
    Founder of Revcelerate
  • Prior to Fast Forward, Branch Brush was just a sapling. The programme allowed us to be present with like minded individuals, gain validation and contacts through mentor sessions and talks. We were able to build up our confidence not only within the brand but within ourselves. We now see the importance in having the right guidance to push us in the right direction. Thanks to Fast Forward we are on the track from sapling to tree.

    Julieta Ahmedze
    Co-Founder of Branch Brush
  • Without bringing enrolled into the FFWD 2018 PTG would quite simply not be on the same path it now currently is, we learnt so much whilst being enrolled on the course not just about business and how to create a proper business model but also about ourselves and what each member of the team succeeded at.

    Thomas Gray
    Co-Founder of PTG Architectural Technology
  • I represented my newly created start-up Prowexx at FFWD Summer 18 Programme. The overall experience was very useful and informative. Through the programme, I met other entrepreneurs at the same stage of development for their companies and exchanged many good ideas. Katie has done a tremendous job in setting up the Programme so thank you very much and thanks to Paul, Luigi, Jake and everyone else involved

    Rached Khanfir
    Co-Founder of Prowexx
  • FFWD is THE place for getting honest and no-nonsense scrutiny of your business ideas. It helped us evaluate and validate any assumptions we made (which is more common than it seems), which is of paramount importance for building a strong foundation for any business. The entire FFWD team and the mentors’ advice was instrumental in making a strong base for our business idea to be built upon

    Rohan Satpute
    Co-Founder of Percept Imagery
  • Before FFWD I knew nothing. I knew I had the ambition and drive to become the Founder and CEO I know I can be, but the truth is I found even the prospect of quitting my job as a lawyer and going for it very daunting.  Looking back, I can’t believe how much I have learnt in such a short period of time. From the very first session, I began to learn what it takes to build a start up. The FFWD model is both interactive and bespoke, forcing participants to wrestle with the most difficult questions from day 1. For instance, by getting me to validate my assumptions by going out and speaking to clients, in order to frame the ‘job to be done’, compelled me to pivot and adapt in order to ensure I was building a product that was in need rather than build my product and hope the clients will come.

  • I want to thank Katie and the team for their efforts in helping to get me started. Since completing the course, I have raised my first seed round, set up my first office with my co-founder, got onto the accelerator I wanted to, and am now in the process of rolling out trials for our software. The bottom line is, if you want to accelerate your start-up, choose FFWD!Moktar Alqaderi
    Co-Founder of Progressay
  • Fast forward is a programme that I believe every start-up needs to enrol in. It’s unique to other programmes because it does not just fill you up with information. But instead it practically breaks your business down to the build it up again. Every week there is an in depth assignment given that leads to the positive growth of your business and after the six weeks, it’s so phenomenal to loo back and see the growth achieved through this programme. Another great thing about this programme is the like-minded individuals that you get to surround yourself with. It encourages you and reassures you that you are on the right path as they mostly all possess the same level of passion about their idea than you do about it. Fast Forward is truly an inspiring programme FFWD!

    Christina Akintoye
    Founder of Honey Skincare

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