This article was originally posted on the Tech North website.
Tech City UK and Tech North are founding partners of Active Lab, an accelerator programme for the best and brightest physical activity start-ups. This is a guest post by Steven Ward, Executive Director of ukactive, which is running the programme.
Despite the wonderful advancements technology has brought us, most people would argue that it has drawn us away from an active lifestyle. The necessity of movement and lure of activity has been partly stripped away by games consoles and apps that deliver our groceries.
Technology has taken us from hunter-gatherers to smartphone takeaway swipers. Nonetheless, the potential of technology is boundless, and given the right direction, surely it can help reverse the tide of inactivity and get us moving again?
Step forward Active Lab – a new accelerator from not-for-profit health body ukactive. The programme aims to inspire active lifestyles by matching startups with the leading lights of business and physical activity.
How Active Lab works
Active Lab will help accelerate the growth of digital businesses in three ways. Firstly, Active Lab workshops and speaker sessions will feature experts from the physical activity sector who will help companies validate their business model and meet market needs, as well as international expansion and access to funding.
Tailored advice will also form a key pillar of the programme. Active Lab will connect companies to a suite of private sector and government partners who will provide bespoke support to help companies address barriers to growth.
Thirdly, networking will be a central tenet of Active Lab. Participants will be able to gain expert advice from industry mentors such as investor and former CEO of David Lloyd Leisure, Scott Lloyd; fitness magnate and serial entrepreneur David Giampaolo, as well as Pacific Direct founder Lara Morgan.
Also, through a series of networking events – companies will be able to meet potential investors and buyers, ukactive members, key government contacts and other high growth businesses.
How to apply
Entries for ActiveLab close on 11 November, with the 20 finalists announced on 23 November. This cohort will receive workshops and insight from some of the biggest names within both the physical activity and business world.
With physical activity firmly in the spotlight, there has never been a better opportunity for the sector to maximise this focus and take a giant leap forward. Already there are thousands of technology firms and Silicon Valley sages lining up to tap into the wellness boom. That’s why there is a pressing need to evolve the way that we deliver physical activity by creating dynamic solutions that will benefit the sector, the National Health Service and the wider economy.
I would encourage any ambitious product and service-based startups encourage to join the programme, and take advantage of the wonderful opportunities ActiveLab will offer. Who knows, the next business unicorn could very well be you.
To find out more about ActiveLab and how entering can place your startup on the fast-track to success, visit: http://activelab.co/.
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