Accelerator FAQs

We have answered our most frequently asked questions, to help you decide if this is the right programme for your company and to support you during the application process. If you still have questions, please email:

What support does the Accelerator offer?

Each company is assigned an NHS Navigator, an experienced professional from the NHS with the expertise to understand their needs and share advice on products in development, NHS navigation and business models.  The NHS Navigator will provide intensive, bespoke support over the programme.
Companies accepted onto the programme will have the opportunity to take part in workshops and training, “meet the expert” sessions, one-to-one clinics, and other events and learning opportunities hosted and delivered by the Accelerator and its clinical, subject, and business experts.
We also know that there is a lot to be learned between digital health companies who may be on similar journeys or at different timepoints in their commercial development. We facilitate peer networking across the cohort through open discussion groups, targeted topic sessions and access to an exclusive channel. We also utilise our extensive Alumni network who have significant experience and learnings to share on different topics.

Support focuses on areas specific to individual companies’ needs, with a focus on engagement with different elements of the health and care system. It may include:

– Engagement with clinicians and healthcare experts
– Refining products to meet NHS need
– Deepening understanding of the health system
– Showcasing innovations in health facilities
– Developing business models to progress product development
– Market access and navigation

How long is the programme?

The Accelerator is a year-long programme of support organised into three-month phases.

How much time will I need to dedicate to the programme per month?

There is no set amount of time required and engagement naturally shifts throughout the year as companies move through various stages of growth. However, to benefit fully from the programme, companies need to have the time, head space and resource to properly engage. On average, an engaged company representative will spend at least three to four hours per week participating in multiple aspects of the Accelerator including workshops, networking days, sessions with your Navigator and reporting on programme metrics.

Is the programme run face-to-face or virtually?

The Accelerator programme will be a hybrid programme, involving a mixture of face-to-face and virtual events. There will be a minimum of five mandatory face-to-face events taking place in London during the year-long programme which all companies must attend. We continue to work in partnership with our companies to design our Accelerator programme to ensure the format works for them. 

My company offers a solution to the social care market. Can I still apply?

It is increasingly important that digital solutions address both health and social care problems, and the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator accepts applications from companies offering solutions in both the health and social care sectors. The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator has supported several companies in the social care space and have relationships with key stakeholders enabling us to deliver a programme that meets the needs of companies and the developing integrated care landscape.

How does the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator support diversity?

DigitalHealth.London is passionate about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the long-term success of innovation and transformation within the NHS. DigitalHeath.London continues to work to ensure the Accelerator programme is diverse including through ensuring diversity in the selection panels who review the applications and host interviews. We encourage innovators who identify as being from a minority group to apply to the programme.

What would you expect from an international company in terms of commitment to in-person availability in London?

There is no set amount of time required and engagement naturally shifts throughout the year as companies move through various stages of growth. However, to benefit fully from the programme, companies need to have the time, head space, and resource to properly engage. On average, an engaged company representative will spend at least three to four hours per week participating in multiple aspects of the Accelerator. This comes in the form of face-to-face events and meetings, both with the navigator / Accelerator team and industry experts / commissioners, as well as virtual meetings and check-ins.  There will be a minimum of five mandatory face-to-face events during the year-long programme which all companies must attend and outside of these we work in partnership with the companies we support, ensuring the mix of virtual and face-to-face meeting works for them.  Experience suggests that international companies benefit from the programme most when they have made a demonstrable commitment to the UK market, and have started to invest in a locally employed team.

For non-UK or non-London based companies, will my travel or visa application fee be subsidised?

There is no reimbursement for any costs or expenses related to the programme.

Does the Accelerator provide funding or invest in companies?

The Accelerator can connect companies to relevant funding opportunities but does not provide or guarantee direct funding. We do not invest in companies or take any equity. Companies are expected to have sufficient funding to fully participate in the programme and this is taken into consideration in the business maturity aspect of the selection process.

How is the Accelerator funded?

The Accelerator is delivered by the Health Innovation Network, with support from CW+ and MedCity. The Health Innovation Network receives funding for innovator support from the UK Government’s Office of Life Sciences, NHS England and the Greater London Authority.

How does participation affect compliance with the United Kingdom Subsidy Control Regime?

The benefit received by your Company from the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme will be classified as Minimal Financial Assistance (MFA) under the Subsidy Control Act (2022). The amount of Minimal Financial Assistance that your Company will receive through the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is estimated to be worth the equivalent of £35,000. Before making the payment, we will require written confirmation that receipt of the payment will not exceed your Company’s Subsidy Control Statutory Guidance MFA threshold of £315,000 cumulated over this and the previous two financial years, as specified in section 36(1) of the Subsidy Control Act (2022). This means you must confirm that you have not received more than £280,000 (£315,000 minus the value of this subsidy of £35,000) in MFA subsidies or comparable types of subsidies (see section 42(8) of the Subsidy Control Act) between 1 April 2020 and this date. We take this opportunity to remind that you are required to keep a written record of the amount of MFA you have received and the date/s when it was received. The written record must be kept for at least three years beginning with the date on which the MFA was given. This will enable you to respond to future requests from public authorities on how much MFA you have received and whether you have reached the cumulative threshold.

What is the difference between the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator and the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA)?

The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is distinct from the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA), in that it works with companies who will benefit from closer working with the NHS in London, for example to scale through developing products or building their real-world evidence base in London.

The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator focuses exclusively on companies with digitally enabled solutions and provides a network of London-based support, rather than a national programme like the NIA. DigitalHealth.London’s Accelerator also focuses on companies, rather than a dual support model for individuals and their innovations. Additionally, the NIA seeks to support innovations with a comprehensive evidence base, whereas DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is happy to support companies that could benefit from additional real-world validation in London.

What is the difference between DigitalHealth.London and SBRI Healthcare?

The SBRI Healthcare programme provides funding to develop innovations that meet the challenges facing the healthcare system. The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator works with companies who have already developed digitally enabled solutions.

What is the difference between the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator and the Clinical Entrepreneurs programme?

The Clinical Entrepreneur Programme is a workforce development programme for clinical and non-clinical NHS staff, run by NHS England’s Innovation, Research and Life Sciences group and delivered jointly with Anglia Ruskin University. The Accelerator programme is for digital health companies.

Can companies / individuals take part in more than one Accelerator at a time?

Companies and/or individuals can take part in the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator alongside other Accelerators, such as the NHS Innovation Accelerator, as long as they are able to commit time to engaging in both programmes. Often Accelerator programmes can compliment each other (see above) but in order to benefit fully from the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme, companies need to have the time, head space and resource to properly engage. On average, an engaged company representative will spend at least three to four hours per week participating in multiple aspects of the Accelerator.

What is the difference between the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator and Launchpad programmes?

Companies successful in gaining a place on the Accelerator programme usually have a product or service that has already been piloted in the NHS and is ready to scale. The Launchpad programme is for companies at an earlier stage of developing a product or service and are nearing launch into the health and social care market.

What happens after the programme?

Following the completion of support, all programme participants join a growing number of companies as a DigitalHealth.London Accelerator alumnus. The team encourages alumni companies to keep in touch. Companies are always welcome to reach out if they have any questions and can make use of more formal bi-annual time with a navigator. With a dedicated alumni slack channel, events and opportunities can still be shared, and connections can be made with fellow alumni digital health companies.

Application questions

What is the application process?

The application process consists of two stages:
– Online Application: Our experts in the healthcare, commercial and technology sectors will review relevant applications according to business credibility, fit of your products or services with NHS priorities and the extent to which we believe the programme will make a positive impact on your business. You will need to register on our online application platform and can save and return to your application at any point until the deadline. The application form is easy to complete and includes questions about your company and the digital health products you have developed. The deadline for the application is 23:59 Monday 03 April 2023. Watch this Top Tips video for a step-by-step run through of the application form and advice on answering the questions.
– Panel Interviews: Applicants successful in the online application stage will be invited to interviews with a panel of experts from across the healthcare, commercial and technology sectors. Experts are matched where possible to interview companies that fall in their area of expertise or need.

When should I expect to hear back about my application and when are the interviews?

Applicants will be contacted in early May regarding the outcome of the application review. Interviews will take place between 18 May and 5 June 2023. The interview outcome will be announced in mid-June 2023.

Will I get feedback on my company’s application?

Due to the large number of applications we receive we do not offer feedback if applicants are not successful at the application review stage. All unsuccessful interviewees are offered a feedback call with a panel member. 

What are the eligibility criteria for companies to be considered?

1) To be eligible to take part, companies must fit the definition of a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME), as provided by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the UK Government: According to this definition, an SME is defined as a business that has fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of less than €50 million (approximately £43 million) or a balance sheet total less than €43 million (approximately £37 million). If you are not sure whether you meet the criteria, we will be able to make a judgment based on your responses to questions in the application form.
2) Companies need to be registered with Companies House or equivalent. Charities and social enterprises are eligible to apply.
3) Companies wishing to take part in the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator must be committed to doing business in London. While the programme will be delivered in a hybrid approach, there will be a minimum of six mandatory face-to-face events during the year-long programme.
4) Companies need to be below the threshold of the UK Subsidy Control Minimal Financial Assistance (MFA), which allows an undertaking to receive up to £315,000 worth of assistance over any three-year fiscal period. The amount of MFA that a company will receive through the Accelerator is estimated to be worth £35,000.

My company is from overseas, can it apply?

Companies from both inside and outside of London are eligible to apply for the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator. However, companies should consider their ability to travel to London regularly, as several the workshops and training events will be held in the capital. Companies without a registered address in London will be asked to demonstrate that they have the resources and commitment to work with health and care organisations in London. 

I am only a one-person / very small business – can I still apply?

We consider applications from companies with between one and 250 employees. However, we strongly advise applicants to consider their capacity to:
– Attend meetings and workshops provided by the Accelerator (usually one per week)
– Take up new opportunities such as meetings with decision-makers and influencers, sometimes at short notice
– Respond and act on feedback and advice received
– Travel to London for five face-to-face events across the year
Alumni companies have told us that they got the most from the Accelerator when they had the time, head space and resource to fully engage and amend their approach as advised. In the past, companies with the capacity to fully engage have tended to have five employees or more.

Is my company too mature to apply?

Companies that are already working with the NHS or private healthcare can certainly still benefit from the programme. Through experience in supporting more mature companies on the Accelerator, it is crucial that a one or two individuals within the company are assigned responsibility for engaging with the programme. This ensures they have both the bandwidth and support to get the most out of the programme. Additionally, while mature digital health companies might have a few more established lines of growth, agreeing a specific area to focus on while on the programme with your assigned Navigator has proved effective. As an example, this could include focussing support on a newer product or on developing academic links to generate evidence.

Can I apply again if I’ve not been successful previously?

Yes, companies who have applied previously but have not been successful are able to apply again. However, companies that have been successful and previously taken part in the Accelerator programme previously are not able to reapply.

At what stage of product development do companies have to be to apply?

Companies that have a product or solution that is well-defined and are ready to start building their evidence base are likely to benefit the most from the type of support offered through the programme, as it focuses on engagement with different elements of the health and care system. Company suitability is assessed based on both the stage of development of products/services, with products ready to be trialled or bought, and the company’s capacity to benefit from the programme, including having enough time / staff to engage.

How do I know if I have received Minimal Financial Assistance (MFA) subsidies or comparable types of subsidies (including EU state aid funding) in the past?

Any public body or publicly funded body giving assistance to a company should clearly communicate that the support fall under subsidy rules from the outset. Following the end of support, the recipient should receive a certificate detailing what support was given and how much subsidy the support equated to. If you are unsure, please contact the organisation who provided the support. The most common subsidy support we see in applications for the programme are:

Innovate UK, where a majority of their support through their research, development and innovation scheme falls within state aid rules.
– Knowledge Exchange and Embed Partnerships

Cumulation rules apply to MFA. This is essential to ensure that the UK is complying with its international obligations. MFA subsidies cumulate with each other and with other subsidies that fall within the category of ‘Minimal or SPEI financial assistance’. This captures all the different low value exemptions an enterprise could receive support from UK public authorities. For example, the following should all be taken into account during the current and previous two financial years:
– MFA;
– SPEI assistance;
– aid given under the EU State aid de minimis regulations 52 either before the end of the implementation period of 31 December 2020 or after this date, if by virtue of the Northern Ireland Protocol; and
– subsidies given as small amounts of financial assistance (SAFA) under Articles 364(4) or 365(3) of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement after the end of the implementation period but prior to this section of the Act coming into effect.

Can I arrange a call / meeting to discuss my eligibility / application?

Our webinar and Twitter live events should provide all the information you need. Attend our Ask Me Anything webinar on Thursday 23rd March to get application tips and ask your questions to the team:

Follow us on Twitter to find out when the next information events will be taking place.
Should you still have any questions, please email with any queries and someone from the team will be happy to help you. In the unlikely event we are unable to answer your question over email, we will happily set up a call with an appropriate team member.

Should the pitch video and written pitch be the same? Does the video pitch need to be professionally edited?

The written pitch does not need to be a transcript of the video pitch. The video pitch also does not need to be professionally edited, it can simply be a video recorded on your phone or laptop and no editing is required.

Can I change my answers once I have submitted my application?

Unfortunately, once you have submitted your application, you are unable to edit your answers. We recommend applicants make use of the wide application window to allow them to fine-tune all answers before submitting.

What criteria is used to choose companies to take part?

Passing the rigorous selection process is a testament to the hard work and potential of each company. At both application review and interview stage, at least four professionals with expertise in healthcare, business, technology and evidence generation score applicants on their suitability for participation in three areas:
– Credibility of business – ensuring companies are financially viable, have a working product and have the potential to succeed and thrive.
– NHS need and potential to help provide appropriate solutions – ensuring companies are meeting a real demand.
– Potential to benefit from the programme – ensuring companies have the capacity to benefit from the programme and have reasonable expectations of the programme.

When is the start date of the next cohort?

Support of Cohort seven will start in June 2023.