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17 June 2016

£300k investment programme opens to attract ambitious young companies to Bournemouth

Silicon South has teamed up with Creative England to create ‘First Bourne’, a high-profile, 3-month, accelerator programme for Bournemouth. The programme offers £25k investments and a comprehensive programme of business advice, support and mentoring to eight companies - to accelerate their growth. It concludes with the leading two companies being offered a further £50k follow-on funding, to benefit from £75k of investment.

First Bourne is open to product-led digital companies, who want to kick-start their business ambitions and access highly experienced entrepreneurs and mentors.  The three-month accelerator is especially relevant to startups involved in app development, online, mobile, data, games, Internet of Things and software.  It is encouraging products from these areas, which focus on ‘Applied Digital’: i.e. where digital techniques and outputs are applied in other sectors that aren’t traditionally associated with the creative digital industries. First Bourne also encourages ideas around 3D modelling and Virtual Reality - which both have strong regional foundations especially from Bournemouth’s two universities.

Applications are open to startup and early-stage companies of up to 2 years old. The initial programme will accept 8 companies and help them develop prototypes backed up by a strong business plan. First Bourne will deliver a range of workshops and masterclasses, some of which will be open to the wider sector, to help the incoming businesses meet the local industry. The project concludes with pitches to investors to help them secure next stage funding.

To support this ambition, First Bourne has lined up an impressive range of mentors. They include entrepreneurs from some of the leading digital companies in Bournemouth, (such as Amuzo, Bright Blue Day and Base) as well as experts from some associated sectors such as health & wellbeing (Nourish) and financial services (LV=), it also features a number of angel investors. The project is enhanced by the endorsement of the NHS’s Dorset CCG and its innovation lab WIRED.

First Bourne will also offer participants access into other strong regional markets - such as advanced manufacturing, social care & the aging population, marine, tourism and agriculture. Through the connections opened by Silicon South, the programme will expand the mentor representation from these industries to meet the demands of the winning participants.

“The Silicon South region is a magnet for entrepreneurs. Our strong open, business economy, both in creative industries and other verticals such as healthcare, finance and advanced engineering, together with a stunning lifestyle and two world class universities, make it a great place to be a digital innovator. By providing startups with the ability to access the right kind of mentoring, funding and expertise we hope to drive the continued growth of successful digital businesses.”

Nuno Almeida, Board Director, Silicon South.

The programme aims to attract interest from non-London startup entrepreneurs across the country, and is greatly helped by the participation of Creative England. Thanks to support from Bournemouth Borough Council, First Bourne offers all participants a desk residency, for the full three months, at the Council’s innovation hub in Lansdowne.

Creative England CEO, Caroline Norbury affirmed that: “By providing funding that can be matched with advice and business coaching, we give companies a better chance not just of surviving those critical early two years, but thriving and overcoming obstacles to create new jobs and make a valuable contribution to the England’s vital digital economy.”

First Bourne is funded through the Regional Growth Fund (RGF).

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