Startup Fuel – £75,000 Cash Prize, No strings attached – Oxygen Accelerator

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Oxygen Accelerator, A ‘BOOT CAMP’ programme for technology start-up businesses, has put up a £75,000 prize to be won by one of the 10 participating teams. There are just three days left to apply!

Oxygen Accelerator was launched last month as a 13-week intensive mentoring and training ‘boot camp’ for the businesses selected from hundreds around the world to join the initiative at Birmingham Science Park Aston.

Founded by entrepreneur Mark Hales and Birmingham Science Park Aston, Oxygen Accelerator aims to find and nurture tech companies of the future and will open up new channels to follow-on investment from VCs, Angel investors and private equity funders.

Now, as an extra incentive, Mark Hales has put up £75,000 of his own money to be won by the business voted for by mentors, investors and peers  as the ‘most improved’ on the programme, which starts in September.  Furthermore, the start-up to receive the cash will not be accredited as the ‘best’ company out of the ten selected, but as one that has gained fruitfully from the programme and has proven its ability to continue to develop a sustainable business.  Finally, the £75,000 cash reward will be received 13 weeks after the programme has finished so not to influence the investment decisions of potential funders.

Oxygen Accelerator was created to help give the selected groups the necessary environment and equipment to be able to super-charge their business’ products and ideas as marketable in the real world.

Founder and entrepreneur, Mark Hales, adds:

“We are keen to bring technology into the UK and create a tech-hub outside London.

“Investing a further £75,000 into the team that has shown a marked improvement from when they joined the programme, will help fuel inspiration, determination and the passion needed to make a business work. I want to make clear that each team selected for this process is a winner to have come through the 13 weeks and this cash-injection is in no way a bias towards one particular company.

It’s just another investment to be gained at the end of the process when each business will be pitching to investors on ‘Investor Day’.  The only difference is, it’s theirs and they do not need to give up equity or alike! Moreover, it allows them to have faith in the tech community and believe that people will invest in an idea if it has the right ingredients to turn it into a credible business – but that takes time and Oxygen Accelerator is here to support this development.”

Applications are open until Thursday June 30th.

The successful 10 will have access to a pool of state-of-the-art resources and also receive guidance from fellow successful tech entrepreneurs, business mentors and financial and legal support, which is imperative for any business during its formative stages.  It’s about having the right advice or connections at the right time. Crucially at the end of the 13 weeks they will also present their products to venture capitalists and angel investors, as the programme culminates with an ‘Investor Day’.

Criteria for applying for Oxygen Accelerator is simple: founders of the company will be asked a series of questions relating to existing milestones, investment to date and revenue generation – basics that are usually part of a business plan.  Accompanied with this should be a short video of the founding members as to why they should be selected to be part of the Top 10, which will give judges a good impression of what they are like as individuals.  Judges will be looking for strength in idea, how much they think they’ll benefit from the programme, presentation and thinking as well as team dynamics.

Applications are open now and close on June 30th 2011.  Click here for more information on how to submit your proposal, or how to become a mentor and/or investor:


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