Learn how to launch an idea in 3 months

A 12-week part-time course to give you the knowledge, skills, confidence, and support you need to launch an idea the smart way.

The next programme will run from 4th May – 24th July.


Ready to get your idea into the world?

Places on our Summer intake are limited, apply now to avoid disappointment.

Apply nowRequest Syllabus

What’s involved?

The Startup Accelerator is a 3-month, part-time course (designed to fit around a full-time job) through which you’ll not just learn the smart way to build a business and get your idea off the ground – you’ll actually do it. Our methodology is designed around three main components:

The Lean Startup

Demystify the startup process
We’ll teach you the ‘Lean Startup’ method built by prominent startup experts. This involves processes to build, test and adjust your idea quickly. Ensuring you don’t waste time, money and energy in the long run.

The Escape Toolkit & Mindset

Move from thinking to doing
From how to work through what’s stopped you so far, to free website platforms and customer development hacks; our startup experts will equip you with the tools & mindset needed to turn your idea into a business.

Accountability & Community

Accountability = progress
Starting a business alone is hard. But with likeminded peers, strong leaders, experienced mentors and enthusiastic Escapees you’ll have the guidance and support to get going and maintain momentum.

What will I leave with?

The Startup Accelerator takes you through everything you need to know to launch a business the smart way. This is a learning-by-doing programme focused on helping you build and launch your idea in 12 weeks. By the end of The Startup 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.

Online Business Identity: Website, Logo, Explainer Video, Social Media Channels, Content Plan

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 marketing channels

You’ll have experimented with social media channels and know which is the most effective for connecting with your customers.

A 3-month prioritised action plan

You’ll know what to focus on and how to keep on track.

An alumni community of likeminded entrepreneurs

Friends, future business partners and a network of connections to help you on your entrepreneurial journey.

Real momentum and expert advice! An incredible course which creates real momentum over 10 weeks. So many tips and tricks to get us up and running quickly and expert advice from tutors to help prepare us for the road ahead. On top of that, a group of 40 great people that provide lots of moral support to each other each week and even beyond the end of the course.

If you’re on the fence, just do it!
The Startup Accelerator course at Escape the City was the best investment I ever made! I learnt a toolkit for a successful and entrepreneurial future and gained a huge network of awesome, creative and likeminded people. I can’t recommend it enough!

One of the first and probably best …
“Esc” is made up of great people running it and a great community, some of whom are still good friends 2 years on. It still is one of my first ports of call whenever I have a business related challenge and the support and encouragement I received and continue to receive is one of the reasons where Oddbox is where it is.

Businesses we’ve helped launch

We’ve had over 700 people complete our Startup Programmes since we launched the Escape School in 2014. We have hundreds of alumni successfully running businesses on their own terms, across almost every industry from food, to fashion, to technology, to travel and many more. Here’s a few of the businesses we’ve helped launch since we started:

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.

David and Anthony escaped management consultancy to found Stashbee – A community marketplace where you can book secure storage space in the homes, lofts and garages of trusted Storage Hosts.

Raised £900,000 investment.

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.

Adela escaped Management Consultancy to found Style LyricalA stylist service which takes the headache out of clothes shopping and deliver 3 beautiful handpicked outfits, to your door.

10 fashion label partners.

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.

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.

Dates & Location

Next Intake: 4th May - 24th July, 2019

During this time you will be required every Wednesday evening for 12 weeks (6:30 – 9:30 pm), as well as the following weekend days (9:30am – 5:30pm):

  • 4th & 5th May: Saturday & Sunday (Kickoff Weekend)
  • 25th May: Saturday
  • 8th June: Saturday
  • 22nd June: Saturday
  • 20th July: Saturday (Demo Day & Celebration)

The course is designed to fit around full-time employment.

All The Accelerator sessions take place at Work.Life Clerkenwell:

Work.Life Clerkenwell 20 Jerusalem Passage London EC1V 4JP The nearest stations are Farringdon and Chancery Lane.

Course Fee

Our course fee is payable upfront or in instalments spread over 4 months. No payments will be requested until your application has been reviewed and you’ve chatted with a member of our team.

Your fee includes:

12 x 3-hour evening workshops: during our course sessions you’ll have face to face time with our experts as they guide you through the fundamentals of starting a business, as well as tailored exercises to accelerate your idea.

Kickoff Bootcamp: during our full weekend (Saturday & Sunday) from 10-6pm, we’ll dive straight into the course and start connecting with each other.

Online resources: the course is supported via access to our online content where all material and resources live.

Free coworking: you’ll have free access to all Work.Life locations during off-peak hours throughout the 12 weeks (After 5.30pm on weekdays, and 8.30 – 5.30pm on weekends).

4 x Saturday workshops (9:30am-5:30pm): our full day sessions allow more in-depth workshops to provide a deeper dive into teaching tools, one-to-one mentoring and time spent getting the work done and taking your idea to the next level.
One-on-one mentoring: you’ll have access to regular check-ins with your Course Leaders and mentors every week throughout the course.

Demo Day: a chance to practice pulling your idea together into a pitch for either support, investment or to find a co-founder.

Taster Event

To meet our team and get a feel for what we do, come along to one of our evening workshops.

Kickstart Your Startup: Accelerator Info Session 

This free 1.5-hour workshop will:
– Help you understand if our programme is the right fit for you
– Give you a chance to chat with The Escape Team
– Share an overview of the programme curriculum
– Connect you with other students thinking about the course

A life changing experience that is hard to explain until you lived it. If you are even considering it, just do it, you will NOT regret it. Such a positive vibe.


Community. It’s beyond words- something so great you have to experience yourself and may very well be the best community you ever come across.


If you’ve ever wanted to demystify what it takes to start a business, do this. If you’ve ever worried about doing it alone, do this. If you’ve ever wanted to break your mould and meet great people who could inspire you to wake up and get shit done… do this.


The bucket list must to change the way you think about your career.


One of the best things I have done.


An amazing rollercoaster ride. I’ve been thinking about startups and ideas for years and this is exactly what I needed to kick start my journey.


12 weeks to change the course of next 4249.6 weeks of life (based on average UK life expectancy).


“It’s like THE APPRENTICE meets FUN HOUSE. No seriously, if you want to scratch your entrepreneurial itch it’s the best place to do it.”

Nov 2016

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.

Ed Dowding

Ed is a serial entrepreneur, Tedx speaker, and startup guru. Having founded 3 businesses over the last 10 years, his businesses have spanned digital service, food systems (FoodTrade) and platforms for democracy (Represent.me). His startup superpowers include: building purposeful businesses, helping founders build resilience, and hacking online projects together in a very short amount of time.

Skye Robertson

Head of the Escape School, Skye has helped thousands of people escape their jobs and start new careers and businesses through Escape the City, Startup Britain, Facebook’s She Means Business campaign, and Young Enterprise. Her superpowers include: helping people build businesses aligned with their values, standing out in crowded markets, derisking your business & building solid financial foundations, and putting great MVPs together in a very short amount of time.

Jonny Miller

Jonny co-founded the travel storytelling platform Maptia four years ago, that features stories from around the world whilst working remotely from five different continents. Jonny’s startup superpowers include: hustling for first customers, content marketing, building communities and hacking Kickstarter.

Emma Walker

Emma has helped hundreds of small brands launch as part of The Escape School and is a digital marketing consultant for disruptive brands. She’s worked predominantly in small teams for fast-growing organisations as well as launched a number of her own businesses. Emma’s superpowers include: helping people build data-driven growth and marketing strategies, and breaking down large startup projects into tangible tests.

The Escape Club

Your journey isn’t over after 12 weeks… After completing the course, you’ll graduate into The Escape Club, a private network for Alumni of our London and New York courses. Full of brave Escapees, ambitious career changers, and aspiring entrepreneurs, this community will support you as you continue your journey.


Structured tools for connecting with each other online and offline


Optional weekly Escape gatherings, as well as bigger retreats and festivals


Exclusive introductions to, and connections with, Escape employers


Ongoing access to all Escape materials and other information


Inspiration from successful Escapees and a platform to share your progress


Click below to find all our Startup Accelerator frequently asked questions, including:


  • What is the likely demographic?
  • Do I need a startup idea?
  • What if I can’t make all the dates?
  • Is it just for corporate professionals?
  • Is this all about building tech startups?
  • How does the application process work?
  • Can I apply with a friend or business partner?
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