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Co-Founders is a one-of-a-kind programme for first-time entrepreneurs & early-stage startups

Form a team

Form a team

Validate your idea

Validate your idea

Build a solution

Build a solution

Belfast
Spring2020

HOTHOUSE WEEKEND

Meet the 2020 cohort over a series of challenges to kick off team formation & a Design Thinking Bootcamp.

Friday 13 March – 5.30pm to 9pm
Saturday 14 March – 9am to 5pm

For more information, contact

Sonya Kerr, Co-Founders Programme Manager sonya.kerr@wearecatalyst.org

CORE PROGRAMME

The programme will consist of a series of immersive workshops and mini-lectures taking place weekly on Wednesdays, with open time to work on your startup.

Wednesdays 4pm to 7pm
18 March to 3 June 2020

Location

Catalyst Innovation Centre, Queen’s Road,
Belfast BT3 9DT*

* Note – (Some workshops may be held in the Fintech Hub by Danske, at Queen’s University or Ulster University but this will be communicated well in advance)

Application Deadline

Wednesday 26th February 2020

Cost

FREE (however significant time commitment is expected)

 

Belfast Applications Now Closed.

For further information, please contact:

Sonya.Kerr@WeAreCatalyst.org

Jointly funded by

Derry
Spring2020

HOTHOUSE WEEKEND

Meet the 2020 cohort over a series of challenges to kick off team formation & a Design Thinking Bootcamp.

Friday 27 March – 5.30pm to 9pm
Saturday 28 March – 9am to 5pm

For more information, contact

Sonya Kerr, Co-Founders Programme Manager sonya.kerr@wearecatalyst.org

CORE PROGRAMME

The programme will consist of a series of immersive workshops taking place weekly on Mondays and mini-lectures, facilitated workshop and open time to work on your startup.

Mondays 6pm to 9pm
30 March to 15 June 2020

Funding – Opportunity for best teams to receive 5 x £10,000 Proof of Concept awards.
(subject to criteria including company must be registered in the UK)

Location

Catalyst Bay Road, Derry~Londonderry,
BT48 7TG

Application Deadline

Wednesday 11th March 2020

Cost

FREE (however significant time commitment is expected)

 

Derry Applications Now Closed. 

For further information, please contact:

Sonya.Kerr@WeAreCatalyst.org

Jointly funded by Innovate UK a Part of UKRI

What Co-Founders Alumni Say

“Co-Founders is an excellent platform for creative thought with a fantastic group of people and a brilliant initial weekend. I think it's kind of a must for anyone with entrepreneurial aspirations or a dormant desire to change the world. I am really excited about our concept and I wouldn't have the confidence to push this forward if it hadn't been for Co-founders.”

A Co-Founder is a person who, in conjunction with one or two others, is instrumental in starting a business.

Co-Founders is a unique entrepreneurship programme that helps you form a team with like-minded individuals, build creative confidence and develop a product that customers really want. It comprises two areas of focus: how to be a co-founder and how to develop a product mindset. Co-Founders is open to ambitious and talented individuals or established teams interested in developing new product/service innovation focused on science, technology and engineering. The programme has attracted diverse participants such as: software engineers, data scientists, sales and marketing experts, medical professionals, mechanical engineers, researchers, undergraduates and PhDs as well as professionals with many years’ experience.

WHO SHOULD APPLY FOR CO-FOUNDERS?

Co-Founders by Catalyst is open to individuals who are curious and want to gain an understanding of product development and the world of start-ups.

You could be someone with an idea for an exciting new product and need a team to make it happen. Or you might have experienced success in your career to date but want to help someone else get their idea off the ground.

If you’re an established team, you can still apply but need to go through the Hothouse process to meet the rest of the cohort and potentially add further expertise to your team.

WHY APPLY TO BECOME A CO-FOUNDER?

  • brilliant opportunity to meet talented and skilled individuals outside of your normal network
  • helps build resilience by encouraging participants to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable”
  • learn the difference between a product mindset and growth mindset and how to leverage both
  • gain a better understanding of the startup ecosystem in Northern Ireland
  • get free access to Catalyst co-working space at Catalyst Innovation Centre, Catalyst Hub by Danske or Catalyst Derry

Alumni Companies

Explore some of the other ways catalyst supports entrepreneurs

Co-Founders FAQs

Do I need to have an idea for a product?

No – to form well-balanced teams we need people with “can do” attitudes and skills focused on the technology, engineering and science sectors. Previous candidates have included experienced professionals through to undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers – what’s important is getting the right balance on the team. We’ve had people from the following sectors on previous cohorts of the programme: Product Managers/Designers, Data Scientists, Medical Professionals, Software Developers / CTOs, Engineers, Architects, Wealth Managers, Lawyers, Project Managers, Entrepreneurs, Product Developers, UX Designers, Marketing / Digital Specialists, Sales/Business Development Professionals

How do you form the teams?

On the first night of the Hothouse weekend, everyone will do a personal pitch by way of introduction to the group. For the remainder of the weekend, we will facilitate a series of energetic challenges aimed at getting to know each other and building relationships. A team of experts will also be analysing the group and providing suggestions for team formation. We encourage everyone to network over the first few weeks of the programme to help make an informed decision about who they want to work within a team. Everyone has to be in a team by week 4 otherwise can’t progress to the next stage of the programme.

Can teams apply?

Yes, you can apply if you’re already part of a team but you have to apply as individuals and everyone has to take part in the Hothouse weekend. For readily formed teams, the programme can help identify if they need to bring an additional person onto their team. We know from experience that early-stage startups usually have 2 to 4 people so 4 is the maximum number for a team on the programme.

What happens if I don’t find anyone I want to work with?

This is perfectly normal and if you don’t meet someone in the first 4 weeks, you will have developed your network with a bunch of like-minded and skilled individuals and will have learnt new skills. You are welcome to come back to a future cohort and try again with a fresh batch of candidates.

Do you expect everyone to have created a product/startup at the end of the programme?

No, the Co-Founders programme is the first step on your entrepreneurial journey, introducing you to the support and help available and more importantly helping you to validate your idea.

Do you provide funding?

No, we are not a funding body but will provide advice on funding available in Northern Ireland to help you build a minimal viable product and hopefully a successful startup.

What about IP?

All candidates have to sign NDAs at the start of the programme however it is up to each candidate and/or team to manage their own IP.