Do start-ups who are part of an accelerator or incubator have a better survival rate?
Can accelerator or incubator programs help start-ups beat the odds of failing? Despite 1,843 businesses started daily in the UK, only 20% survive past 3 years. We explore the benefits of these programs and if they increase survival rates.

On average, 1,843 businesses are started in the UK every day. Despite this staggering number, only of these businesses will survive for longer than 3 years. 

So it goes without saying, starting a business can be an exhilarating but risky venture. While some entrepreneurs strike gold and become overnight successes, others may find themselves struggling to stay afloat. In fact, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), only about two-thirds of new businesses survive at least two years, and about half survive at least five years.

However, there's a growing trend that may be helping start-ups beat the odds: participation in accelerator or incubator programs. These programs offer a range of resources and support, from funding and mentorship to networking opportunities and access to industry experts. But do start-ups who take part in these programs really have a better chance of surviving and thriving in the long run?

Research suggests that the answer is yes. In a study conducted by the SBA, start-ups that participated in accelerators had higher survival rates and generated more revenue than those that didn't. Another study by the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative found that start-ups that went through an accelerator program raised significantly more funding and achieved higher valuations than their non-accelerated peers.

So, if you're an entrepreneur considering launching your own start-up, you may want to consider the benefits of joining an accelerator or incubator program.

The number of support programmes available across the UK has doubled over the last 5 years, highlighting the effectiveness of accelerators and incubators and the impact they can have on start-up growth. But are these startups who join support programmes experiencing better survival rates than those that don’t? 

What’s going to improve your chances of surviving as a new business? 

First, let’s establish what kind of support and resources a startup business needs in order to survive past the 3 year mark. Factors for success vary from sector to sector and business to business, but in general, no startup is going to last long without the following: 

Key Ingredients for Startup Success

Launching a new business is never easy, but there are some fundamental ingredients that can help you beat the odds and thrive beyond the first few years. Here are three key factors to keep in mind:

Financial Stability

  • 47% of UK startups fail due to financial complications.
  • Seeking funding is a key aspect to getting through those early years.
  • To improve your chances of success, you need to become investment ready and understand the types of funding available and how to secure them.

Sector Knowledge

  • A further 42% of startups don’t make it past 3 years due to a lack of understanding of their sector and where their product fits within it.
  • Conduct thorough research and analysis, seek out industry mentors and experts, and stay up-to-date on the latest developments in your field.
  • Establishing a grounded understanding of your industry landscape, trends, and competitive pressures is what’s going to help you safely steer the seas of startup life.

Strategic Partnerships

  • Forge impactful partnerships and collaborations with other businesses that share your goals and values.
  • These relationships can help you expand your audience, access new resources, and stand out from your competition.
  • Choose partners carefully, seeking out those who share your vision, have a track record of success, and bring complementary skills and expertise to the table.

By prioritising these key factors – financial stability, sector knowledge, and strategic partnerships – you'll be better equipped to navigate the challenges of startup life and achieve long-term success.

Can accelerators and incubators offer me this support? 

Now that we know what tools you’ll need in order to navigate startup life, let’s take a look at whether support programmes like accelerators and incubators are equipped to provide this. 


The lure of free resources and funding is the biggest attraction for most founders to accelerators and incubators. But funding doesn't come easily. There is a cost of your time to joining a support programme and it won’t guarantee a healthier looking business bank account. What you should be assessing from each entity before you apply is whether it will equip you with the relevant level of investment readiness so you have the tools and understanding to be able to build your financial literacy to secure funding. Alternatively if they do offer funding, then understand how likely you are to obtain, what level of commitment you need to dedicate to the programme (as competition will be high), and what terms are attached to that funding because you don't want to go through a programme over months or even a year to find terrible term sheets that turn you off and have wasted your time.

If investment readiness is the top of your priority, then FundingHero provides you with an expertly crafted, guided learning programme over just over just several hours that is guaranteed to take your fundraising knowledge to another level and with the goal to get you funded faster. Sign up for free today and access the first Fundraising Plan pillar that can transform your startup and secure your future.  

Sector Knowledge 

From our previous exploration of the current accelerator and incubator landscape, it seems that there’s an interesting disparity over the number of sector specific incubators and accelerators available to startups. While some hone in on the specifics of a particular industry, equipping you with the deep rooted understandings you’ll need to stand out from competition, others give an overview of all the tools you’ll need as a startup, regardless of your industry. Ideally find a sector specific support programme to maximise the benefits and value, as this will 10x your chances of business survival.


One guaranteed benefit of joining an accelerator programme is the expansion of your professional network. Particularly in accelerators that have a mentoring focus, you’ll be able to spend time seeking advice from leaders and mentors, each with valuable ideas that can transform and innovate your business. Accelerators, which work on a cohort basis, also offer strong peer networking opportunities and benefits, providing you with a wealth of new contacts to collaborate with in the future and most importantly a good investor pool.

So, will a support programme improve the survival chances of my startup?  

A recent study revealed that 73% of those who participated in an accelerator reported their involvement as a vital element of the success of their business. This highlights how joining a support programme will equip you with the tools and knowledge you’ll need to be able to remove as much risk as possible from the future of your business. 

FundingHero: Fundraising Accelerator

If you want to do more to bolster your chances of success as a startup, take a look at the tools at your disposal on FundingHero. Whether you’re a funding and finance beginner who is yet to write a full business plan, or a pitch and investment novice looking to move to seed round, FundingHero will help your business grow in the way that works for you and at your own pace.  

FundingHero also offers a fundraising accelerator for Birmingham-based startups, scale-ups and entrepreneurs. Are you a start-up looking for funding, mentorship, and industry connections to boost your chances of success? Check out Funding Hero's accelerator program, designed to support your growth and increase your chances of survival. Apply now and take the first step towards achieving your goals! We will reach out to you with the dates for our next co-hort.