In a recent article for SLP:LDN, Trustee and Program Lead Steven Hess remarked “our last count put around 700 organisations in the UK offering support to entrepreneurs. Accelerators, incubators, corporate labs, co-working spaces, online and offline education training programs, pitching competitions, structured and unstructured mentor programs, early stage hands on investors, angel networks, meetup groups. And so on. From the Palace to your local council; there’s probably a support network looking to help you”
So knowing this, what makes SLP different from the rest? These are our thoughts:
The program works
Since opening its doors in Boston back in 2006, 53 out of 1,700 start-ups formed have been successfully sold – that’s a 3% successful exit rate of the 1% of start-up that usually succeed
“SLP provides a great opportunity to connect to entrepreneurs who are on the same journey as you. It gives you the chance to share the challenges you're facing with people who can relate to your situation as well as following a structured learning programme covering all aspects from hiring to funding and everything in between. I'm still in touch with many of my SLP cohort members and it's great to see how our respective ventures have developed and evolved. If you're on the fence about whether to apply don't be – just do it!” Rajeeb Dey MBE, Founder of Enternships & CEO of Learnerbly (SLP 2011)
Not-for-profit, no equity
SLP succeeds because it is a not-for-profit organisation. We take a small fee to help cover the cost of running the program but don’t take equity, offer services in exchange or ask for a carry on your success. This program exists to encourage entrepreneurs to succeed and in turn help our plant to be just a bit better.
You’re a member for life
Classmates, mentors, former fellows – this is a way to connect meaningfully with like-minds and have access to their expertise for the entirety of your career afterwards. SLP is an adrenaline shot to your network. Fellows join for the world-class education and stay for the network. Our focus is you, the entrepreneur, not your start-up. You.
“SLP gave me a great grounding of all aspects of starting a company. The most valuable part for me was the people I met, many of whom I've stayed in contact with for years since.” Melissa Morris, founder of Lantum (SLP 2011)
You run the classes
If you look around the site, you’ll see that many of last year’s fellows have submitted articles on particular classes – sessions as diverse as dealing with co-founders to hiring lawyers. That’s because the classes are run by the fellows themselves – need an expert speaker for your subject? You need to get them in. Want to impress your fellow entrepreneurs? It’s all on you. This is a course for entrepreneurs to learn from and feed of each other and we achieve this by having you run the classes. What makes working like this special? See below.
“As entrepreneurs we face the same problems regardless of what business we’re in. SLP recognised this and has structured a peer-to-peer learning environment that not only teaches you the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, but supports you throughout your journey too.” Harriet Jordan Wrench, Founder and CEO of Secret Sessions
Collaboration + Competition = Inspiration
Each class is marked, each group is scored and we share these scores with you at the end of the program. A little competition between brilliant people has a habit of bringing out the best in them. Again, it’s something we do to ensure our classes are sparky, inspiring and worth excelling in. And it works – the class of 2018 rated classes on average 4.3 out of 5.0
People respect what we do.
SLP entrepreneurs have gone on to enjoy upwards of $650m in investments from leading investors – we connect real potential with real opportunity, and we do it the right way. It probably wont be in a grand demo day with a packed audience, it is much more likely to be with a connection made during the program. In fact more and more quality investors are shying away from the bells and whistles on DEMO DAY.
You have a chance to change the world.
Every SLP Fellow makes a promise on the last day of the program – to ensure that they use the opportunity, learning and inspiration they gain from the course to make something more than money – SLP believes entrepreneurs to be a breed apart – some of the best problem solvers in the world. So if we’re going to work together for our own successes, the least we can do is give something back to those who really need it.