ROBERT Gordon University’s (RGU) Startup Accelerator programme has reported a surge in popularity, with more than 180 entrepreneurial teams competing for the mentorship and development opportunity – as well as £10,000 of seed funding.

The programme, which is in its second year, is the first funded programme of its kind in the north east of Scotland which aims to support diversification through a yearly creation of new businesses.

Completed applications rose by 10% this year, with 150 startups making it through to the second round of international judges. In 2018, the number was 103.

The programme also reports that it has seen a rise in female applicants, with 62% of successful startups selected having one or more female founder.

Teams also consist of a wide diversity of people, with 57% having one or more international members. A total of 14 countries outside of the UK are represented.

Gordon McConnell, professor of entrepreneurship and director of innovation at RGU, said: “The vast diversity of this year’s teams in terms of background, gender and life story is not accidental,

but the results of a successful strategy to ensure that entrepreneurship and innovation reach all of the university and its wider community.

“Now the real hard work begins, and this year’s teams only have to look at the startups from last year’s cohort to see what success looks like.”

A total of 21 teams from a range of industries have been selected for the new cohort, covering a range of industries including education, tourism, energy, healthcare, food and beverages, architecture and the creative industries.

Their products include digital platforms, mobile apps and robotics, as well as a range of manufactured goods for both consumer and business markets.