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START UP Founderships

An intensive, six-month business pre-accelerator for ambitious new business founders.

Advancing you and your business

At START UP, we're here to support you and your business opportunity. Whether you've launched your own business, freelance career, or social enterprise, we can help. Founderships is our programme for ambitious, growth-orientated companies and social enterprises.

START UP Founderships

Adapted to the needs of you and your business, Founderships includes:

  • one-to-one coaching and mentoring
  • skills development
  • access to influential partnerships
  • a £7,500 living stipend
  • up to £10,000 in equity-free grant funding
  • co-working space at Floe in Newcastle city centre

The 2023-2024 programme is now underway. The next programme is not yet open for applications.

What is a business accelerator?

Business pre-accelerators and accelerators are intensive packages of support. They involve coaching and mentorship, skills development and financial support.

A pre-accelerator is for business opportunities that are in development or recently launched. They help you to establish your business. An accelerator is for established businesses, known as 'seed-stage'. They help you raise investment and scale up your business venture.

How can Founderships help me?

We bring in experienced entrepreneurs to deliver Founderships. They will help you to:

  • strengthen and advance your business opportunity
  • become a resilient leader who thinks big
  • solve big problems for big markets

Our Founderships alumni have progressed onto competitive business accelerators. One also appeared on the TV show Dragon’s Den.

Am I eligible for Founderships?

START UP Founderships is open to new and recent graduates. Final-year students who will graduate by the programme start date can apply. Graduates from the past two years can also apply.

  • you must own the intellectual property for your business
  • your business opportunity must be in the UK
  • you must be willing to stay or move to the North East and work on your business full-time
  • if you're not from the UK, you must have the right visa permission to register a business

What important details do I need to know?

  • Founderships are competitive and we can only award a limited number each year
  • teams can apply but a Newcastle University graduate must be a co-founder
  • you will need to have an interview and pitch to a selection panel if you apply
  • Founderships is not currently open for applications


The Foundership was genuinely integral in helping Castore get off the ground. It taught us a number of valuable lessons and also helped introduce us to our first investor

Phil Beahon, BA Law 2014, co-founder of Castore