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Basecamp Boston

Forging solid connections for business growth.

An innovative programme for NI companies with plans for expansion in the US .

What is Basecamp Boston?

Basecamp Boston 2024 is the third iteration of the programme developed by Catalyst and supported by the Department for the Economy. The purpose of the initiative is to forge solid connections between Northern Ireland businesses and the US to accelerate growth.

The programme connects NI companies with established experts and experienced executives in the US market – providing the insights they need to scale their business.

Independent research commissioned by Catalyst identified a supportive network of mentors as critical to accelerating NI companies’ path to scale in the US.  By supporting scaling companies and connecting them with a range of business experts who can help with their specific needs, Basecamp Boston has the potential to generate real economic impact.

Due to the success of the last two iterations, the Department for the Economy has continued to fund this initiative. In addition to making valuable connections with US based experts with domain expertise that can accelerate your US expansion plans, the programme also offers insights into key areas such as pricing and GTM strategies. We can help identify potential strategic partners and board members, deliver workshops for skills development, and provide your company with a robust strategy for expansion. By participating you will establish a strong foundation for successful market penetration and sustained growth.

Applications for Basecamp Boston 2024 are now closed.

Key Dates

Monday 29th Jan – Monday 12th Feb: Open call for NI Companies to apply

Monday 19th Feb: Successful applicants notified

w/c 26th Feb: Needs Analyses for Returning Companies (remote)

11th – 15th March: Needs Analyses for New Companies (In-person at Belfast)

May: Programme Launch (exact date TBC)

24th – 28th June: Basecamp Boston Programme Delivery


Programme Content

Each year we conduct a Needs Analyses with all participating companies and respond directly to the specific challenges facing the cohort. As a result, each programme is bespoke to the needs of the participants. As an example of what you can expect to experience in Basecamp Boston 2024, you can download the 2023 agenda here.

Criteria for 2024

  • Criteria for 2024 Participating Companies

    The programme is designed to aid companies from Northern Ireland with their business development in North America. We are eager to support companies who have the ambition to scale to >£100M in 5 years.


    The programme is fully funded and participating companies are only required to make a contribution towards travel costs.


    Basecamp Boston is a sector agnostic programme, and we welcome applications from Innovation Driven Enterprises (IDEs) with high growth potential.


    To be eligible to apply applicants need to:

    • – Have a product ready to enter the US market​ (with the exception of Life Science companies who require clinical trials before going to market, in these cases proof of viability of the offering and indication of continued development over the last 3 years will suffice)
    • – Be eager to develop a Go-to-Market strategy for the US​
    • – Have a budget to implement US expansion over the next two years

    The cohort will consist of new companies and returning companies in 2024.

  • Why Participate?

    According to Startup Genome’s research What Makes a Startup Succeed? Identifying Scaling Success Factors (startupgenome.com), global connectedness is key to growth.


    When startups target customers beyond their borders from an early stage, they start to develop their products and services for global markets, as opposed to specifically for their national market. This expands their potential customer base, multiplies their growth potential, and as they gain traction, increases their ability to raise growth capital.


    • – Scaleup rates increase with the number of quality founder-to-founder relationships and the number of informal quality founder-to-investor relationships.
    • – Scaleup rates increase as Global Connectedness increases.
    • – Ecosystems that are more connected to top ecosystems see their startups go global at a much higher rate on average (66% correlations between those very distinct variables).
    • – Early-stage startups that go global (more than 50% of foreign customers) are on a revenue growth curve that is 2x faster than those that do not (less than 50% of foreign customers).

The Stats

  • 2023 Cohort


    *Returning Companies

  • 2023 Stats

    100% of participating companies stated they were introduced to useful business contacts and service providers that they will continue to develop relationships with


    80% of participating companies stated they were introduced to valuable VC connections


    64% of participating companies identified potential strategic partners


    76% of participating companies stated the programme provided valuable insights into their roadmap / strategy for US market entry / expansion.


    70% of the participating companies identified US consultants they are considering contracting for work.


    41% of the participating companies identified a new product or service through insights provided from the US mentors, which they are exploring implementing.


    64% of the participating companies stated they were provided with qualified leads for potential new customers

  • Testimonials

    “Basecamp was so successful for us we have been able to see immediate benefits on sales and business development, we’re already in the process of going back out to follow up with connections forged!”



    “The networking has been second to none throughout the programme. Even the dinner was useful and added value with some very challenging conversations. Things like challenging assumptions and thinking about how we approach our US journey, helping us to avoid costly mistakes.”



    “The ethos of ‘paying it forward’ really came across and summarises it so well, everyone has been so welcoming, open and helpful… It’s very difficult for companies like us to get meetings with the calibre of experts made available through Basecamp Boston, the whole process was amazing.”

    MOF Technologies

Christine Boyle

CEO, Synergy

Meet Your Programme Manager

Tomas Bamford

Tomas Bamford

Programme Manager, Basecamp Boston

Tomas has centred his professional development on making the communities in which we live ... read more
Tomas Bamford

Tomas Bamford

Programme Manager, Basecamp Boston

Tomas has centred his professional development on making the communities in which we live and work more enjoyable, to inspire positive social, economic, and ecological change. He is passionate about taking this ethos to an international stage and before coming to Catalyst he worked on 9 events for the Dubai Expo covering a broad range of subjects with expert speakers from all over the world.

This included specialist programming on space exploration with multiple astronauts, TV presenter Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, and videos with the international space station. It also included wildlife conservation with Jane Goodall, climate scientists, and technology experts exploring how tech innovation is shaping our new normal in industry 4.0.

Tomas enjoys doing a deep dive into specialist subjects, finding experts who are world leaders in their field, and hosting programmes that share this knowledge with an audience who will benefit most from the content.

He brings 15 years’ worth of relevant expertise to Catalyst and oversees the Basecamp Boston programme which has been designed to connect NI companies with established experts and experienced executives in the US market – providing the insights they need to scale their business in America.

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