The UK’s accelerators and incubators supported more than 1,100 start-ups in 2014. The average survival rate? Well, for these businesses it is an impressive 90%+ which is at a level almost 20 percentage points higher than for small businesses choosing to go it alone. And of the start-up programmes operating within the UK in 2014, more than half were launched within the last three years – representing a 110% increase since 2011, according to The Rise of the UK Accelerator and Incubator System report from O2.
Predictably, almost two thirds of UK start-up programmes are based in London – there are 10 times more than the number outside the capital. A shortage of credible tech investors and networking opportunities means that many talented entrepreneurs are gravitating towards larger start-up hubs such as London to get the benefits of the accelerator and incubator boom, the report says.
O2 also notes the dramatic rise of the corporate incubator, ie in the number of start-up programmes backed by large corporations or business partnerships, with the likes of John Lewis, Barclays and Deloitte all entering the market. These incubators and accelerators already make up 12% of the total number of programmes operating in the UK today.
So, as in Silicon Valley, it’s boom time for accelerators and incubators. However, some fear that the UK is witnessing an accelerator bubble that will sooner or later burst. What is O2’s take? “It’s too early to make predictions on the health of the sector as a whole.”
Which sits firmly in cop-out territory.