Founder Labs – Accelerating Innovation Programme

News article

A new £5 million programme has launched to support entrepreneurs and high growth start-ups in Northern Ireland.

Invest Northern Ireland has launched its new accelerator programme Founder Labs. It's a programme of support to help early-stage, technology-based, start-up businesses and entrepreneurs become global businesses of the future.

Founder Labs is specifically focused on technology-based Start-Up Innovation Driven Enterprises (IDEs), providing support to the most ambitious and high potential founders across Northern Ireland.

Founder Labs will be delivered by Ormeau Baths in Belfast in partnership with Dogpatch Labs in Dublin, The AMP in Derry and Queens University Belfast. The programme is funded by Invest Northern Ireland and New Deal Entrepreneurship Funding.

What support is available?

Each start-up on the programme will benefit from six months of intensive one to one mentoring, workshops and events with industry experts and access to shared workspace. The programme also includes international study visits to explore global opportunities and the chance to pitch to local and international investors.

Who can apply?

Founder Labs is ideal for technology-based start-ups with ambitious and transformative ideas that can achieve the following by year three of trading:

  • Revenue or funding of more than £1 million.
  • 60 percent of sales from outside Northern Ireland.
  • External investment.

To be eligible for support, IDEs must be:

  • headquartered in Northern Ireland
  • credible with an experienced management team
  • have registered the company within the last five years
  • engaged in manufacturing or tradeable services
  • creating significant market opportunity with a new innovative IP / technology / service
  • capable of reaching £1 million turnover and 10 employees (average salary £25k) within three years
  • focused on export markets
  • capable of securing external/matched funding within 18 months

How to apply

Find out more about Founder Labs and how you can apply.

Applications will close on Friday 10 May 2024.


First published 21 March 2024