START is a fully funded programme designed to give you the fundamentals on how to run a business, helping you to make your tech based business idea a reality.
A West of England Combined Authority funded programme

What is START?

Available for those in the West of England Combined Authority region, The START programme is aimed for those who have an idea for a technology based business but would like to develop it further. It includes 28 hours of learning worth £1400 (totally free for you), that could lead to a coveted spot in a local business incubator/accelerator for 6 months.

28 hours training, workshops, and
mentoring worth £1400.

Shared networks and access to
investment opportunities.

Earn a fully funded place in our
incubation programmes.

Supported by 4 West of
England Universities.

Who can apply?

You must be over 18 and live in the West of England Combined Authority areas of Bristol, South Gloucestershire or Bath & North East Somerset.

Representation really matters to us and we are committed to this. We are really keen to support community and ethnic minority led Entrepreneurship through this initiative. If you think “START probably isn’t for me”, then we definitely want to hear your idea!

What's the format?

Each cohort in the programme has a slightly different format and is held in different locations in the region to make it as accessible as possible for those who would like to attend. However, all will cover these key business fundamentals:

As well as these core sessions you will have access to group coaching sessions, pitch training and the opportunity to pitch your business to our award winning incubators for a fully funded spot for 6 months.

Our next cohorts are starting in Bristol on 21st September 2023 (4-week schedule) and in Bath on 26th October 2023 (6-week schedule).

How do I apply?

Simply fill in this expression of interest form and let us know a few details about yourself, your idea and which date you may be interested in – and we’ll get in touch with more details. Or email us directly at

Submit Interest

Frequently Asked Questions

  • You or your business must be based in the local authority areas of Bristol, South Glouscestershire or Bath & North East Somerset. If you not sure you can use this handy post code checker
  • You need to be at an early stage of your journey you may have an idea, have just started a business or just know you want to be a founder and looking to find the perfect concept. If you’re a more established business this isn’t for you but you can access support from our partners at the Growth Hub

Our aim is to support people to establish businesses that can grow and utilise tech. If this isn’t you there’s other support at the Growth Hub.

It’s completely free!

We receive funding from the West of England Combined Authority and contributions from all four local universities to enable this programme to happen!

We’re running several cohorts each year so we’d encourage you to submit an expression of interest, if you’re not yet ready we can always put you on a future cohort. Once you start a cohort though you have to complete that one.

Yes there is nothing stopping you from being on START and other programmes as well. We’re happy to have a chat to ensure you’re getting value and duplicating your effort!

If you have difficulty making sessions due to caring responsibilities, or the costs associated with attending (e.g. travel costs), please let us know and we will do our best to find ways to support you joining a cohort.

The course is going to be delivered mainly in person, there will be access to some online elements and resources but we know that lots of the value will be from learning and engaging with your peers.

This is a West of England Combined Authority funded programme led by UWE Bristol in collaboration with University of Bristol, University of Bath, Bath Spa University and techSPARK.