What's on offer?

The Y Accelerator works with cohorts of candidates, teams or early stage businesses, offering an amazing opportunity to benefit free of charge from three months’ intensive development support and the chance to pitch for investment.

Programmes based in the Sheffield City Region are built around modern business modelling techniques, with access to expert advice, mentors, specialist workshops, market research and tailored 1-to-1 support. They conclude with an investor pitch event providing a unique opportunity to pitch your new business to a range of investors.

who should apply?

Sheffield City Region Growth Hub annual programmes - If you have an innovative idea and the aspiration and drive to build a high-growth, scalable new business from the Sheffield City Region, this programme is for you. Applications are invited from individuals, teams or companies with a new or early stage business idea with national or international potential. All industry sectors will be considered and applications are especially encouraged in the manufacturing and automation sectors.

Well Rotherham Social Connectivity Challenge - This unique programme is being provided by Y Accelerator in collaboration with Well Rotherham and comes with an innovation challenge and a chance to pitch for a £10k business development grant. Social connectivity is increasingly recognised as key to the health and mental well-being of people young and old. Covid-19 has exasperated these issues through social distancing, but also driven innovation to keep people connected. Applications are invited from motivated, aspirational individuals, teams, companies and social enterprises with a new or early stage socially driven business idea that is related to the challenge. Your solution can be provided through technology, or a physical product or service. To be awarded the £10k grant you will need to trial your business in Rotherham and demonstrate how the idea creates social value for the area.

For both programmes, if you are based outside the Sheffield City Region then you can still apply but you would be expected to work from this area if successful in your application. Employed, unemployed, student or postgraduate, it doesn’t matter. It’s your idea, attitude and commitment to realising your new business that counts.

“The programme did an excellent job of helping us to think differently about our business model and value proposition, as well as introduce us to industry experts and prepare to launch our business.”

Chris Iveson, Boost Manufacturing Technologies

What to expect?

During the fast-paced 12 week programmes you will aim to validate concepts, build a strong customer proposition and financial model and learn how to effectively communicate the value in your business to customers and investors.

Programmes are delivered through one-to-one and group sessions, tailored to meet the needs of every candidate. The Y Accelerator network of advisers, mentors and businesses is there to provide insight from a wide pool of expertise to help you navigate towards your goals and build your network.

You won’t write a tedious business plan. We assist you in consolidating thoughts, mapping out and testing ideas, focusing on what’s important and helping you make informed decisions to push your business forward.

Programmes operate on a part-time basis to make them accessible to as many entrepreneurs as possible. You can expect around one half day workshop per week along side a programme of regular one-to-one meetings. You’ll work towards developing a great sales and investment pitch to present at the concluding pitch event.

"The Y-Accelerator is an excellent platform to accelerate your business. The mentoring and camaraderie created an inspiring space and framework to brainstorm, set goals, learn and achieve. The sessions helped spur better commercial ideas for me and my product - identifying vulnerabilities and developing strengths in surprising ways. I levelled up as an entrepreneur and made some valuable long-term connections."

Lee Price, Zelter founder and winner of the 2018/19 Y Accelerator pitch event

Who's involved?

Y Accelerator’s aim is to create new growth businesses for the economic benefit of the region. We partner with like-minded organisations including the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub and Well Rotherham to provide support free of charge.

The experienced Y Accelerator delivery team are part of Rotherham’s well established network of business incubators, at the forefront of adopting new business modelling techniques to support entrepreneurs. Gordon Macrae from Gripple Ltd. acts as entrepreneur in residence, providing valuable real-world insight for innovative start-up businesses. The team have a strong track record of assisting local and international start-ups.

The Y Accelerator is a partnership between public and private sector organisations, helping create the businesses of the future.

How do i apply?

Sheffield City Region Growth Hub programmes

The Y Accelerator 2019/20 cohort completed in February 2020, but you can show you interest in future programmes by completing an application form through the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub portal:


For more information: Email: growthhub@sheffieldcityregion.org.uk; Tel: 03330 000039

Well Rotherham Social Connectivity Challenge

The programme is inviting applications until 30th August 2020 through the South Yorkshire Housing Association website. We’ll meet successful applicants in September, with the programme starting October 2020. For more information please visit: