Building on from the last fifteen years of SETsquared staging their annual Showcase, the Partnership will host their first Graduate Acceleration Showcase on 26th June at Deloitte in Holborn.

The showcase will be an opportunity to bring together the best graduate start-ups from across our five SETsquared partner Universities, and collectively celebrate some of the most amazing entrepreneurial talents of our graduates.

The event is designed to link graduate entrepreneurs to support resources and help them develop connections with potential investors, mentors, and the larger business community.

This showcase is a culmination of a 5-month programme to hone each graduate company’s pitch and provide significant promotion within the investor and wider start-up ecosystem, both nationally and internationally, as well as the corporate and media community.

Programme outline  

Why should I apply for a place on the Graduate Acceleration Showcase?

Overall, the programme is a great opportunity to hone your pitching skills, gain feedback from real investors, SETsquared programme managers, experienced entrepreneurs and mentors and to promote your business to a wider network.

The event will offer graduate businesses a chance to pitch their ideas in front of an audience of over 120 early-stage investors, mentors, accelerators/incubators, policymakers and significant strategic partners.


Selection criteria:

Applicants are eligible if they have graduated from one of the SETsquared Universities (Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey) or plan to graduate by summer 2019. We accept applicants up to 3 years post-graduation.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate rigorous market validation, a strong and viable business model and the potential for continued growth and development.

Applications are welcomed whether the company is looking to:

  • Raise early stage investment (seed level, or feasibility/proof of concept);

  • Find mentors to support the development of their business idea;

  • Gain access to further support through SETsquared accelerator programmes, or other incubators/accelerators.


Selecting the companies to exhibit and pitch (all stages are compulsory):

STAGE 1: Once applications are validated by each Institution, companies will be invited to attend an Online Panel Selection Session. A maximum of 45 companies will pitch online. To prepare for the selection phase they’ll receive support from each Institution.

At the online selection session, each company will give a 5-minute pitch to a panel of mentors and experienced entrepreneurs. A 10-minute Q&A + feedback from the panellists will follow each pitch.

The aim is to select 24-27 companies to go to the next phase of the programme.


STAGE 2: Selected companies will be invited to pitch live in 3 different locations in front of an audience of local investor and experienced entrepreneurs who will provide feedback. At the end of these sessions, 18-20 companies will be selected to pitch at the London showcase.


STAGE 3: Selected companies will be given further support to hone their pitch ready for the showcase via their local Institutions and they will attend online pitch refinement sessions delivered by SETsquared trainers.

All companies selected to pitch at the showcase on 26th June will be required to attend a practice session on the evening of 25th June so accommodation will be required for the night of 25th at your own cost.

5-minute Pitch Guideline

In general, the audience is looking for an overview/snapshot of your value proposition in the time allocated. They are not expecting huge amounts of detail about how your solution works but are in general more interested in the overall business opportunity that you are presenting. As a guide it is recommended that you cover off the following questions:

  • The Problem: What is the problem that you are trying to solve?

  • The Solution: What is your solution to that problem?

  • The Opportunity: What is the market opportunity for your solution? “Value Impact” of the business idea

  • The Business Model: Explain how the business model works. How are you going to make money?

  • The Team: Who are they and what is their relevant experience?

  • The Ask: What do you need in terms of next steps?

Company Executive Summary 1-Pager

As part of your application, you must submit a one side A4 executive summary, which will be made available to the panel ahead of the online selection days.  These summaries need to be punchy and describe the problem you solve, how you solve it, the market you address and the potential progress of your business. It is important that the audience can quickly understand what your company does, so they can determine if they would be interested in speaking to you.

At this stage these 1-pagers will NOT go to incubators, investors or the press, just the panel (who consist of external panellists). They are expected to keep all material confidential, BUT, if you do get selected, it is expected that your 1-pager will be circulated to all invitees to encourage sign up and will, therefore, be in the public domain. So, you should plan for this.




If you have any questions, please email or call Serena Giaminardi on 07460 271419.