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Interested in cutting-edge tech, expert mentoring and start up business grants? Let us introduce you to the Sunderland IoT and 5G Accelerator programme

A pioneering new accelerator programme, which includes grants for start ups, is coming to Sunderland this September – and applications are open now.

Written by High Life North
Published 01.07.2022

If you’re the proud owner of the North East’s newest start up business, then you’re in luck.

Why? Well, you’ll only be eligible to join a unique 5G accelerator programme that combines leading-edge infrastructure with an exciting new Internet of Things (IoT) domain expertise and expert guidance from internationally renowned organisations, all right here on your doorstep.

Oh, we almost forgot – you’ll also receive up to £10,000 grant funding. No biggie.

How? Well, because the North East is the best place in the world, of course. And Sunderland is at the forefront of the UK’s drive to create smart cities.

See, Sunderland City Council has partnered with global communications infrastructure provider, BAI Communications, and leading tech sector support organisation Sunderland Software City, to launch the brand new, six-week Sunderland IoT and 5G Accelerator programme. Aimed at start ups, the programme will be delivered in September 2022 by a team of experienced practitioners at Sunderland Software City.

The aim of the programme? To provide start ups with an opportunity to contribute to the scaling of the advanced Smart City programme, helping Sunderland to remain at the forefront of innovation and achieve global competitiveness.

‘Building on our strategic partnership with Sunderland City Council to roll out next generation digital infrastructure, we are delighted to support this pioneering new programme,’ says Bill D’Arcy, CEO of BAI UK. ‘We look forward to working with participants to build the expertise and relationships they need to bring their innovations to life.’

With applications open from tomorrow – Monday 4th July – successful applicants will form a 10-team cohort that will each receive up to £10,000 in start up business grants. They will all take part in a structured series of workshops, mentoring sessions with experts, pitch development and training from September, as well as benefiting from introductions to influential and valuable networking opportunities, with the programme culminating in a showcase event to demonstrate their progress. Project themes are broad, but a focus on IoT challenges affecting skills and education, manufacturing and smart homes will be considered favourably.

At no cost to you for participating – and, unlike many other accelerators, with no equity taken in return for your participation – this opportunity really seems like a no-brainer for any start ups looking to take their business ideas to the next level.

‘We are in the enviable position of being one of the few cities in the UK that is equipped to host this kind of programme,’ explains Liz St Louis, Assistant Director of Smart Cities at Sunderland City Council. ‘We can offer the infrastructure needed to support and accelerate the progress of a group of businesses with this type of expertise. The programme underlines Sunderland’s commitment to being a forward-thinking and smart city.’


Of course you are. Applications open from Monday 4th July for teams based in the UK on the programme’s website.

The Sunderland IoT and 5G Accelerator programme will begin in September 2022, with all expressions of interest invited now.


BAI Communications is a world leader in shared communications infrastructure, pioneering solutions that empower customers to advance their services, accelerate their networks and amplify their reach in the most efficient and cost-effective ways possible. Having long been at the forefront of network advancement, BAI is harnessing fibre, spearheading the transition from 4G/LTE, accelerating 5G and preparing for 6G – and beyond. They collaborate closely with their customers in telecommunications, government, transit, enterprise, broadcasting and venues to realise their communications vision, focusing not just on the immediate future, but on the possibilities that exist over long-term partnerships.


Sunderland Software City is enabling the growth of the technology sector in the North East by providing support and creating opportunities for digital and non-digital organisations. With the aim to strengthen the regions economy by helping individual companies to grow, create jobs and attract investment and through collaboration with partners across the UK, they champion North East tech in every way possible.


Sunderland City Councils Smart City Plan connects people to places – with a decade of social and digital transformation planned to accelerate city-wide improvements for generations to come. The dynamic city of Sunderland is an attractive place to investors and talented individuals alike. By connecting people and places, the smart city will enable smarter systems and increased opportunities to transform the ways in which we exist for a connected, healthy and vibrant experience for all.

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