10 weeks to launch an idea

A 10-week part-time course to give you the knowledge, skills, confidence, and support you need to launch an idea the smart way.


Feeling stuck with your business idea(s) & don’t want to waste any more time?…


*Applications are now closed, but spaces can open up. Register your interest now & be the first to hear more.*

Register Your InterestRequest Syllabus

What’s involved?

The Startup Accelerator is a 10-week, 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.

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.

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 £300,000 investment.

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.

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.

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.

Your Outcomes

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.

Course Structure

Over the course of 10 weeks, you will be guided through a learning-by-doing experience. Much of the curriculum is based on the ‘Lean Startup’ methodology, and we cover the following fundamentals to successfully get your idea out into the world – while avoiding common (and costly) mistakes.

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

Dates & Location

Next Intake: 22nd September - 28th November 2018

During this time you will be required every Wednesday evening for 10 weeks (6:30 – 9:30 pm), as well as the following weekend days (9:30am – 5:30pm):

  • 22nd & 23rd Sept: Saturday & Sunday (Kickoff Weekend)
  • 6th Oct: Saturday
  • 20th Oct: Saturday
  • 3rd Nov: Saturday
  • 24th Nov: 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

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:

10 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.

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.

Plus free coworking…

Thanks to our friends at Work.Life!

You’ll have free access to all Work.Life locations during off-peak hours throughout the 10 weeks (After 5.30pm on weekdays, and 8.30 – 5.30pm on weekends). Value = £500 – £1000+

Work.Life has locations in:

  • Bermondsey
  • Camden
  • Clerkenwell
  • Hammersmith
  • London Fields
  • Reading
  • Fitzrovia (opening September 2018)

Taster Event

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

How to Start Your Business on the Side

This 3-hour workshop will:

– Cover some tools, tips and tricks to getting started

– Give you a chance to chat with The Escape Team

– Give you a feel for what we do and how we do it

– Connect you with likeminded escapees

People have graduated from our Startup Accelerator.


Thought our Startup Accelerator was a good investment.


Would recommend the Startup Accelerator to a friend.

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.

Need help finding your first customers.

Want to get creative and have a lot of fun.

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 be part of a friendly, startup-minded community.

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.

Ben Keene

Head of the Escape School – Ben has helped over 1000 people start their businesses through Escape the City & Virgin Startup. Founder of Tribewanted (crowd-funded eco-communities) and Rebel Book Club (Get a game-changing book read every month). His startup superpowers include: helping people turn pub ideas into actual startups, building purposeful communities and hacking online projects together in a very short amount of time.

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.

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.

Skye Robertson

Skye has helped hundreds of people escape their jobs and start new careers and businesses through Escape the City, Startup Britain, and Young Enterprise. Her superpowers include: helping people understand their values, skills and startup options, standing out in crowded markets, and hacking great MVPs together in a very short amount of time.

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

The Escape Club

Your journey isn’t over after 10 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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