The story behind the WMG Accelerator
In July 2015, the UK government identified productivity as the ‘challenge of our time’ and set out an ambition to deliver ‘world-beating productivity’ in driving the next phase of economic growth. The existing approaches usually involve lean methodology, automation, increased investment and training. These are fine, but are only relevant to an existing product or service operations and are driven by the market demand. However, new UK start-up businesses with innovative products can rarely scale fast enough to beat foreign competition. They often need to build a financial track record, which hinders long-term growth capabilities through innovation.
Many businesses have developed or set up their own incubators. These tend to focus on the immediate industry issues and not on building the product and service ecosystem that makes these businesses stronger for the long term. WMG, through working with large organisations and SMEs, has in recent years also seen a change from engineering SMEs saying “We want to set up an R&D unit” to “We want to set up an Incubator”. However, these initiatives do not tackle the key issues facing start-ups in the early stages. Having an optimal product-market fit should be the key focus before scaling up a product or service.
Hence, the WMG Accelerator is established to address this difficulty facing start-ups in gaining the right fit and subsequent market traction. By linking entrepreneurs, innovators, SMEs and large businesses, and leveraging leading WMG expertise and resources, the Accelerator Programme develops and nurtures ground-breaking ideas from entrepreneurs, students, staff and start-ups. New business opportunities will be created and fostered due to the emphasis on getting innovation on the business agenda and aligning value propositions to the needs and demands of the market.
Dr Xiao Ma - Head of WMG Accelerator:
“The model used in WMG Accelerator will directly challenge key obstacles facing new ventures.” Dr Xiao Ma, the Head of the WMG Accelerator said: “We operate in the National Automotive Innovation Centre to develop and nurture ideas from students, staff and SMEs from TRL 3,4,5 to TRL 6,7,8. We help innovative businesses to build actual traction via leveraging our expertise and bringing in partner SMEs to scale-up the product/service to target large international businesses demand. We only take a small number of cohort businesses to ensure we can really co-define the optimum market-product fit. ”
Professor Jay Bal - Programme Lead of WMG Accelerator:
“We have seen the waste in current business incubation models caused by poor product-market fit and the waste in time and resources in the start-up funding industry. This is why most incubators end up as space rental businesses or idea leveraging businesses when sponsored by commercial businesses."