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Has your start-up got what it takes?

Has your start-up got what it takes? Here’s a checklist of ten tips that Paul Hughes, Allia’s Director of Enterprise Support has pulled together to highlight the key elements he looks for in a start-up

Using this list, he considers whether it will stand out from the crowd and has genuine growth potential. These are the kind of qualities that Paul looks for when considering applications for our Serious Impact programme of business support for entrepreneurs and ventures.

1.  Impact: We call it Serious Impact for a reason; we want to work with entrepreneurs who are committed to creating positive impact for people, planet or place. What are the challenges that are facing us all? Allia aligns its work to the UN Sustainable Development Goals*; therefore, we expect the start-ups to be able to articulate how their solutions address one or more of these global goals.

2. An understanding of the business growth pathway and milestones to be achieved: Where is the start-up headed, what likely challenges will it face and how do they plan to get there? We want to see that start-ups have done their homework and have a plan for how they intend to develop their business.

3. The Team: The strength of the team and the depth of their expertise in their chosen field. Is the team diverse, and do they have relevant experience and commitment needed to succeed?

4. Growth: Do they have realistic growth potential and are they likely to create job opportunities within a reasonable timeframe? We want to see evidence that continuous progression throughout the project is being planned and aimed for.

5. Quality of business proposition: Have they identified a genuine market need and achievable business model, rather than a solution looking for a problem?

6. Strong USP/ competition: Do they understand the current make-up of the market? Who are their likely competitors and what would give them an advantage?

7. Traction to date: What have they achieved so far – can Allia Serious Impact help accelerate their growth?

8. Financial Sustainability & Fundability: We want businesses that have long-term financial sustainability to deliver long-term impact. Is the venture developing multiple and long-term revenue streams, preferably that don’t rely heavily on grant funding. If they need to raise external investment, is their proposition appropriate to attract investors?

9. The ability to ‘tell the story’: Start-ups need to be able to sell their business to many kinds of stakeholders – customers, potential employees, investors, and partners. How well they can ‘tell their story’ is vital to succeed.

10. The WOW factor: Do they stop you in your tracks? Will this venture really make a difference?

Serious Impact looks for ventures that are focused on improving the lives of others; whether that’s through health & wellbeing, environment & cleantech, community programmes, education initiatives, tech for good, food & agritech or smart cities – they need to make a genuine impact!

If you are interested in more information about Serious Impact, go to our website at or email us at – we’d love to hear from you.