Got an idea you want to launch into the world?
Get the skills, confidence and network you need to do it the smart way.
A 12-week part-time programme in London.
We’ll only be accepting 50 people (first come, first serve).
**Applications have now closed, but occasionally spaces open up – register below to be the first to hear if one does.**Register your interest
Not sure where to start?
In helping hundreds of people start businesses that matter to them, we’ve noticed a few common obstacles that stop people from starting.
To help you combat them, we’ve created a free guide covering the top 5 steps to overcome the biggest obstacles many aspiring entrepreneurs face:
Free Your Idea In 5 Steps: A guide to getting your business out of your head and into the world
Want to start your own business?
You’ve got the beginnings of a great idea.
You dream of being your own boss, solving a problem, creating something from scratch, making a real, tangible difference in the world.
Whether you’re looking to build a side-project or a fully fledged business, it’s hard to know where to start:
“Is my idea any good? What should I do first? Should I quit my job? Where do I find someone to do it with me? What do’s and don’ts should I know about?”
At least, that’s how we felt when we started Escape the City. And it’s how all of the 500 people who’ve come through our programmes felt when they came to us.
We’ve learned a thing or two over the years, building Escape into a global business with over 300,000 subscribers. But we learned the hard way – we’d rather you learned the smart way.
That’s why we built the Idea Accelerator.
What is the Idea Accelerator?
The Idea Accelerator is a 12-week, part-time programme (designed to fit around a full time job). You’ll not just learn the smart way to get your idea off the ground – you’ll actually do it.
We cover everything you need to launch your idea into the world.
Stay on track with the help of expert mentors with a variety of startup backgrounds.
Build confidence and connections, get support and find collaborators among the 50 others on a similar path.
What to expect
By the end of the Idea Accelerator you will have…
A first version of your product or service
You’ll know how to take an idea and break it down to create a sensible version 1.0
A personal transition roadmap
You’ll know how to create a transition plan to de-risk your personal finances
Your first sale
You’ll know all the ways in which you can build early revenue
A future business plan
You’ll know what numbers are important to your idea / business
That you have built yourself, with no code and no need to hire a developer
Your target customer profile
You’ll know who your users are and have spoken to your customers to validate your idea
A honed pitch
With feedback from mentors and experienced startups facilitators for either investment, support or for future co-founders
Tested 3 marketing channels
You’ll have experimented with 3 social media channels and know which is your cheapest channel for acquiring users
A 3-month prioritised action plan
You’ll know what to focus on and how to keep on track.
A community of 50 like-minded people
Friends, future co-founders and a network of connections to help you on your entrepreneurial journey.
Your idea may change – that’s cool. You’ll be totally set up to apply everything you learn to any future idea.
What you’ll learn
Over the course of 12 weeks, you will be guided through a learning-by-doing experience. Much of the curriculum is based on the ‘Lean Startup’ methodology. We cover all the fundamental things you need to know to successfully get your idea out into the world – while avoiding those all too common (and costly) mistakes.
Read the curriculum outline
Module 1: Set yourself up for success
Check in your motivations. What success looks like for you. Understand what might be holding you back and know how to transition from your job intelligently.
- Startup Types & Routes
- Myths Vs Realities
- Traps & Common Mistakes
- Good Idea Criteria
Module 2: How to prioritise
Know how to take any idea and break it down in order to validate how it may be launched. You will create a focussed 12-week plan for your idea to test over the programme.
- Making Time
- Focus framework
- Rules of the Road
- Intelligent Transitions
Module 3: Clarify the problem & define your niche
Every great business solves a problem, understand the problem you are solving, who you are serving, how to do customer development and how to communicate what you are doing to the world.
- Solving real world problems
- Defining your problem
- Define your niche
Module 4: Sure up your idea
Understand the basic economics to a business idea. Be able to quickly model finances and identify the strengths and weaknesses to any idea.
- Understanding the fundamentals of your business
- Lean Business model canvas
- Simple business modelling
Module 5: Validate & test your idea
Learn how to build and test the first version of your idea to help you validate the problem you are trying to solve. We also cover which free or cheap tools you can use to help quickly build and validate your idea.
- Intro to ‘Minimum Viable Products’
- Prioritise, set goals and action your top 3 assumptions
- Create personas, learn how to speak to customers to gather insight
Module 6: Build a simple website
Learn how to build and publish a high performing website without hiring a developer or learning to code.
- Landing Pages
- Product Pages & Shopping Carts
- Domain buying and email setup
- Application/Enquiry Forms
- Design a Brand & Logo (for non-designers)
Module 7: Build 1,000 true fans
Learn how to attract, engage and retain customers and build your first 1,000 fans.
- How to build a community around your product
- Digital marketing strategies: social media, content, email, pitch decks
Module 8: Race to the first Sale
A business isn’t a business without taking cash. Learn all the ways you can accelerate the process of getting your first sale.
- Simple pre-sales options & tools
- Crowdfunding 101
- Smart pricing tactics
Module 9: Launch & Plan for the future
Learn how to pitch your idea for support, investment or potential co-founders. Understand
all the business fundamentals you’ll need to set yourself up for success in year 1.
- Co-founders and business Admin 101
- Planning your next 12 months
- Funding paths
- Looking after yourself
Who is this for?
This is for you if you…
Have an idea for a new product or service. (Any idea counts, it doesn’t need to be perfect – in fact, it’ll probably change).
Aren’t sure how to test your idea
Are looking for structure and guidance to make it happen
Want to be part of a friendly, startup-minded community
Need help finding your first customers
Aren’t sure where you should be spending money to launch your idea, and want to avoid common mistakes
Feel like tech might be blocking you
Want to build confidence
Are eager to connect with experts
Want to get creative and have a lot of fun
We won’t be judging your idea – the Idea Accelerator is about getting to grips with an entrepreneurial mindset and the tools you can use to get going, whatever your idea might be.
Who is this not for?
This is not for you if you…
Have already built a startup
Have no startup ideas
If any of these sound like you, come along to one of our evening workshops. We’ll be covering: how to generate ideas, how to chose one to run with, and how to test your assumptions – topics, dates and tickets can be found here.
What we're looking for
We ask for applications so that we can get to know each other a bit better before you join the programme. We’re certainly not here to judge you or your idea – just to make sure there’s a good fit between where you’re at, what you need, and what the programme can offer. Which means the main things we’re looking for in applications is if you…
Are ready to learn by doing – we don’t believe in sit-back-and-listen lectures
Are willing to connect with others – to help and be helped
Have energy and enthusiasm to do something different – you’ll need to be ready to step out of your comfort zone
Ideas we’ve helped launch
Pippa escaped production at The Science Museum to found Pip & Nut – naturally nutritious nut butters made from just roasted nuts and a sprinkling of sea salt.
Stocked in 2500+ UK stores with £3m annual revenue.
Charlie escaped recruitment to found Moju – a juice brand on a mission to inspire a new generation of healthier, happier people by making accessible, great-tasting juice in the healthiest way possible.
Stocked in Harrods, Waitrose and more.
Sanne escaped banking and sales & marketing to Co-Found FRAEMd – an online platform where your taste is matched with affordable and original art.
Featured in Elle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, TNW.
Armin escaped accountancy to found Vitamin Buddy – a vitamin subscription service based on personalised supplement plans with high quality vitamins.
100 monthly subscriptions.
Adela escaped Management Consultancy to found Style Lyrical – A stylist service which takes the headache out of clothes shopping and deliver 3 beautiful handpicked outfits, to your door.
10 fashion label partners.
Deepak escaped Investment Banking Consultancy to found Oddbox – London’s only Social Enterprise delivering wonky fruit & veg boxes to homes & offices, fighting food waste and helping local growers.
1,000 customers receiving weekly veg deliveries across London.
Paola founded Noi Club alongside her corporate marketing career – Noi Club is a community of female achievers who regularly meet to champion each other and move forward together.
21 female empowerment events held in London.
Want to know who’s already in the cohort?
Sign up to find out more about our May members, the ideas we’ll be working on, and insights from our speakers.
People have graduated from our Startup programme.
Thought our Startup Programme was a good investment.
Would recommend the Startup Programme to a friend.
Your leadership team
Our educational excellence is a community effort. When you learn at Escape, you can always rely on an in-house team of experts to provide guidance and support, whenever you need it.
This programme will be lead by Dom Jackman (Co-Founder of Escape the City) & Ben Keene (Co-Founder of Tribe Wanted).
We’ll bring in plenty of industry and topic experts who have been there and done it in the real world.
You’ll work with a range of Mentors with different types of business expertise.
Come to an info session
Want to meet us and find out more about the programme? Maybe you just need help with your idea? We’ll be running a few info workshops over the next few weeks.
Tuesday 9th May (7:00-8:30pm)
£2,250 – upfront payment
Or £2,500 spread over 4 months (see FAQs for more details).
12 x 3-hour workshops: Experts guide you through the content and exercises in workshops aimed at helping you accelerate your idea.
4 x Saturday’s (10-5pm): Full days together allow more in-depth workshops to cover programme content, a deeper dive into teaching tools, mentoring and ‘getting the work done.
Demo Day: A chance to practice pulling your idea together into a pitch for either support, investment or to find a co-founder.
Online resources: The programme is supported via access to our online content where all material and resources live.
One-on-one mentoring: You’ll have access to check-ins with Programme Leaders and mentors through out the programme.
Payments are not requested until after you have been through the application process and offered a place.
The Idea Accelerator isn’t cheap – £2,250 is a lot of money, by anyone’s standards. But we’ve seen that, 9 times out of 10, early stage entrepreneurs will end up investing at least this much money in ways that don’t make sense, and don’t take their business forward. The Idea Accelerator is all about avoiding those mistakes, and thinking in a different way about how and where to spend money the smart way.
So why isn’t it free? Most of the content is available on our blog or elsewhere on the internet. So why charge for a programme?
The most obvious answer is that we need to cover costs, particularly because we put a huge emphasis on high quality leadership and teaching (see breakdown below).
But the less obvious, and far more important, reason is that it’s about commitment. Every person who joins the programme has paid enough money that they will do their darnedest to see it through. That type of commitment – to yourself, your idea, and to the others in your new community – is the secret to actually making something happen. Best of all, you’ll know that the other 49 idea-launchers around you are all in as well. No flakes. Just awesome, escape-minded, ambitious people, ready to make sh*t happen.
Where does your money go?
The next Accelerator will run from:
Wednesday 24th May – Wednesday 9th August
You will be required every Wednesday evening from 24th May-9th August (7:00-10:00pm), as well as the following four Saturdays (10am-6pm):
- Saturday 27th May
- Saturday 3rd June
- Saturday 10th June
- Saturday 5th August
The programme is designed to fit around full-time employment.
The Accelerator sessions take place at Work.Life’s brand new space in Clerkenwell.
An easy walk from the Farringdon, Chancery Lane, and Barbican stations.
Address: Work.Life, 20 Jerusalem Passage, EC1V 4JP.
The Escape Club
Your journey isn’t over after 12 weeks…
After completing the programme, you’ll graduate into The Escape Club, a private network for Alumni of our London programmes. Full of brave Escapees, ambitious career changers and aspiring entrepreneurs, this community will support you as you continue your journey.
Ongoing access to all Escape materials and other information
Inspiration from successful Escapees and a platform to share your progress
Optional weekly Escape gatherings, as well as bigger retreats and festivals
Structured tools for connecting with each other online and offline
Exclusive introductions to, and connections with, Escape employers
In this short video, programme Leader Ben Keene answers our most frequently asked questions:
- What if my idea isn’t good enough?
- What type of people join the Idea Accelerator?
- What kind of ideas come on to the programme?
- I’m crap at tech, can you help?
- What are the main outcomes?
- How much time will I need outside of the sessions?
- How successful are people who’ve been on the programme?
- What if I miss a session?
- What if I have too many ideas?
For more information please refer to our comprehensive FAQs…