The deadline looms – have you applied to join the Catalyst Centre yet?

With 10 days to go before applications close for the next round of the Catalyst Centre competition, our thoughts turn to the application process. No-one enjoys filling in forms, but when it’s a form that could change your whole future, completing this one is a no-brainer.

The process of application for the Catalyst Centre is very simple (the hard stuff starts when you move in!). It’s a short form, which gives you the opportunity to sell your concept to a panel of expert judges, who will select those which they believe to have ‘legs’ to benefit from 6 months free office space, mentoring and business development as part of the Catalyst Centre programme.

All you need is a great idea, and a reasonable level of business acumen – the leadership team at the Catalyst Centre can help you to make your idea into a viable business. The first tenants are already demonstrating the success of the programme, with all four companies already showing considerable progress.

The application form is split into four sections, each of which asks for detailed responses to a question. Catalyst Centre judge, and CEO of the University of Southampton Science Park, Peter Birkett, has a few tips to inspire thought in those of you preparing to complete your application.

1.       NEEDS: Focus on your value proposition. What value will you deliver to your customer? Which one of your customer’s problems are you solving?

2.       APPROACH: How much will people pay for your product/solution? Can you deliver your product/solution and make a sensible margin? How big a market are you addressing and, realistically, what is your market share likely to be?

3.       BENEFITS: Think about the financials. How will your business make money? How will your customer benefit? Will you need investment and, if so, how and when will the investor get a return?

4.       COMPETITION: Think about what differentiates your offering. What is your Unique Selling Point?

Addressing these tips will serve to clarify your business proposition, firstly and probably most importantly to yourself, and also to the judges, who will base their decision on what business value the ideas submitted to them will bring to the table. It’s not enough to have an idea – it must be a viable business. Your job is to convince the panel that you have put serious thought into whether your business can make it in the real world. Their job is to help you make it happen…

Applications close on the 31st of May, although some leeway may be granted in exceptional circumstances. If you’re deep in your finals, or have some other compelling reason for needing a little more time, let us know, and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.