Accelerator for Tech Entrepreneurs Invites Applicants

Cause UK is working with Dotforge Impact to promote their nee accelerator programme in Manchester. A call has gone out to tech start-ups to apply for a business accelerator programme…

Cause UK is working with Dotforge Impact to promote their nee accelerator programme in Manchester.

A call has gone out to tech start-ups to apply for a business accelerator programme of funding and mentoring.

Applications to Dotforge Impact, which will be launching new offices in Manchester in September, are now open to teams creating new digital platforms that can benefit society.

Dotforge Impact will invest £18,000 in each successful team and connect them through a 13 week curriculum to a network of friends, investors and advisors who will help with the creation and growth of the companies. After nine months there will be the opportunity to apply for up to a further £500,000.

Emma Cheshire, managing director, CEO and co-founder of Dotforge, said: “We have successfully graduated three programmes during the last two years and we are delighted to expand our reach through locating at Central Working in Manchester and to offer our second accelerator focused on working with new social entrepreneurs.

“We want to hear from early stage tech companies based anywhere in the UK, but they must be able to attend the 13 week programme in Deansgate, Manchester, which starts in September.

“We consider Dotforge to be an ever-growing family of founders, companies big and small in the UK across many sectors. Our aim is helping our new companies and teams to not only build a product that people will love, but that will also benefit society or the environment.”

Dotforge defines a tech social venture as any company that seeks to use technology for social good. This is either as its social goal or as a positive effect of its use.

Graduates of a previous accelerator in Sheffield include Open Cinema, which has revolutionized cinema going with an app that allows any community group to create their own fully licensed cinema.

OnShowcase helps schools take control of their social media output by reviewing and approving messages from staff before they go live online.

PiP Payments also benefitted from Dotforge Impact. It developed a payment method to help tackle financial exclusion by allowing customers without a bank account, credit or debit cards to shop online. PiP has contracts with the Irish and UK post offices as payment points.

Its CEO Ollie Walsh relocated to the north of England from Ireland when he was accepted onto the programme.

“Taking part in Dotforge dramatically ‘accelerated’ PiP,” he said. “Between the key contacts we met through the Dotforge network and the focus it brought to the team, we made a year’s progress in three months. I highly recommend participation to give your business a boost.”

Dotforge’s programme delivery is supported by Key Fund, a specialist social investor and the RSA. It has been partially funded by the Cabinet Office’s Social Incubator Fund, delivered by the Big Lottery Fund.

To apply go to

For more information please contact:

Colin Tan, Dotforge Impact


For all media enquiries, please contact Clair Chadwick at Cause UK: T: 07531948014.




Photo Credit

Please credit the Emma Cheshire photo to Mark Davis Photography.


Notes for editors

Applications are now open for Dotforge Impact

Dotforge Impact invests £18,000 in teams creating technology to extend social impact, or tech startups working to improve society. Run in partnership with Key Fund, the UK’s most prolific investor in social enterprise, the programme has a dedicated fund of £500,000 second round investment. It is also partners with the RSA extending its reach to over 27,000 fellows from around the world.

Dotforge was established in 2012 by a community of entrepreneurs working to connect startups into the business and investor networks in the UK. A pre-seed accelerator offering 13 weeks of intensive mentoring and investment, Dotforge is now developing sector focused programmes to build on the global networks of key locations in the north of England.

Dotforge Impact offers:

  • Pre-Seed investment of £18,000
  • Extensive access to mentors and networks across the UK
  • Fast-track access to key decision makers in the public, private and third-sectors
  • Support from a range of globally influential business and technology partners
  • Office space at Central Working, Deansgate Manchester

Dotforge Impact is powered by funding from the Social Incubator Fund which is managed by the Big Lottery and the Office for Civil Society in the Cabinet Office. More partners will be announced soon.

Key Fund

Key Fund is the UK’s most prolific Community Development Finance Institution. Founded in 1999, Today, the Key Fund is a market leader in innovation recognising the nature and environment within which social businesses operate, namely; disadvantage and market failure.

  • To date Key Fund has also invested over £34 million with an average loss rate of only 4.4%, supporting over 2,700 organisations.
  • To date Key Fund has created 1,156 jobs as well as safeguarding 1,513 jobs.
  • Over the 2013/14 year Key Fund had remarkable statistics in terms of helping beneficiaries, most notably 551 women, 167 ethnic minorities and 131 children and young people.
  • Unlike most lenders during the 2013/14 year Key Fund dealt primarily in unsecured loans with 65% of all loans unsecured and only 35% secured.
  • During the 2013/14 year 79.4% of all Key Funds awards to clients were within the top 20% of the indices of multiple deprivation (IMD).


The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has been at the forefront of social change for 260 years, with a global network of 27,000 Fellows who share the mission to enrich society through ideas and action.

RSA partnered with Dotforge Impact, led by Emma Cheshire FRSA. The partnership utilises the skills, knowledge and expertise of the Fellowship to support, connect and mentor the Dotforge Impact Teams.

One of the RSA’s key themes is Economy, Enterprise and Manufacturing. Through their work, Fellowship and Action and Research Centre the RSA bring together businesses, makers and entrepreneurs to understand and promote entrepreneurship, sustainable and innovative manufacturing and to create the next generation of socially responsible enterprises:

For more information about the RSA, please contact Rachel Barker at

Social Incubator Fund

The £11 million Social Incubator Fund set up by the Cabinet Office is delivered by the Big Lottery Fund on behalf of the Office for Civil Society (OCS). It aims are to help drive a robust pipeline of start-up social ventures into the social investment market, by increasing focus on incubation support, and attracting new incubators into the market. It provides grants to social incubators, a portion of which forms an investment book which must be invested in social ventures using non-grant financial structures.

Since 2012 it has funded 10 social incubators based across the country, which have provided business support and non-grant finance to over 200 early stage social ventures.