About the programme

  • Is the FutureScope Black Founders Programme in-person or remote?

    The majority of the programme will be delivered remotely via online calls and sessions. We expect to organise a small number of in-person events at Digital Catapult or Sony Music UK’s London offices over the 16-week period, including a programme kick off, networking and final event. Digital Catapult will provide as much notice as possible.

  • How much state aid is the programme?

    The total State Assistance received or due to be received by a Participant (including any associated companies e.g. subsidiaries), originating from a United Kingdom source, must not exceed £315,000 for GB companies, and €200,000 (approximately £165,000) for Northern Ireland Companies (or any company subject to the Northern Ireland Protocol) in aggregate across the Participant’s current fiscal year (as at the Agreement Date) and the previous two fiscal years.

    This Programme has been assessed as providing £20,000 for Participants.

    Before signing the Programme Agreement, Applicants will therefore be asked to sign a declaration confirming that you are eligible to receive the State Assistance.


  • Will the FutureScope programme provide my company with funding?

    To offset costs to a business by participating in the programme, each start up will receive an equal share of £30,000 pot as a financial contribution towards completing the programme. The pot is made possible through additional support from ‘Musiio by SoundCloud.’

  • Does the FutureScope Black Founders Programme guarantee I will receive investment?

    No. The programme is designed to support early stage companies build the skills, access resource and form relationships with potential partners, investors and customers. Digital Catapult cannot guarantee that your company will raise investment from joining the programme. Digital Catapult’s aim is support your business journey and make raising investment more likely. Once you have completed the FutureScope programme, you will become an alumni member and will have the opportunity to be introduced to potential investors and partners.

  • What is meant by pre-seed/seed stage companies?

    Defining Pre-Seed & Seed:

    • Pre-Seed: Demonstrate that your business solves a customer problem. We expect that you kicked off your business with a small amount of funding. You are seeking funding that will help support your early product development. It’ll build the foundation of your business by funding an early team, operations, and the creation of a minimum viable product (MVP).
    • Seed: focuses more on developing and proving that your customers want your product. Companies at this stage should have proven the key value of their product. We expect that you have received some early stage funding from either individual investors or an early stage venture capital fund. The purpose of seed funding is to help founders develop product-market fit, drive sales, and identify key growth strategies and enable opportunities to grow.
  • What is meant by Digital Entertainment?

    Defining Digital Entertainment:

    Areas of focus include but not limited to Music, Gaming, Advertising, Arts:

    • Music: business of creating, producing, recording, promoting, and selling music. It encompasses a wide range of professionals including musicians, singers, songwriters, producers, record labels, managers, agents, and various other related businesses such as concert venues and music retailers. It also includes streaming platforms, digital downloads and physical album sales.
    • Gaming: development, production, and distribution of video games. This includes console games, PC games, mobile games, and online games. The gaming industry is a global, multi-billion dollar market that has grown significantly in recent years with the increasing popularity of mobile and online gaming, as well as the emergence of new technologies such as virtual reality and esports. The industry includes game developers, publishers, retailers, and esports tournament organisers.
    • Advertising: creating, producing, and disseminating advertisements for commercial products or services. This includes a wide range of activities such as market research, product development, copywriting, graphic design, and media planning. Advertising can be delivered through various mediums such as television, radio, print, digital, and out-of-home (OOH) advertising. The industry is composed of agencies, advertisers, and media companies that work together to create and deliver advertisements to consumers. The industry has been evolving with the rise of digital technologies such as programmatic advertising, social media marketing and influencer marketing.
    • Arts: refers to the creation, production, and distribution of various forms of artistic expression such as visual arts, performing arts, literature, and crafts. This includes but is not limited to visual arts like painting, sculpture, and photography, performing arts like theatre, music, and dance, and craft like ceramics, textile and jewellery. The industry includes artists, performers, writers, art galleries, museums, concert halls, theatres, and other venues that showcase and sell art. The industry also includes agents, managers, and other professionals who work behind the scenes to support the work of artists and performers. The industry has seen a shift in recent years with the rise of digital technologies, online platforms and e-commerce, making it easier for artists and performers to showcase and sell their work.
  • Do I have to attend all of the activities?

    In general, attending all activities on FutureScope can be beneficial as it provides you with the opportunity to learn from experienced mentors, connect with other entrepreneurs, and develop your business skills. However, it’s important to prioritise your time and focus on activities that are most relevant to your business and investment goals.

    If there are certain activities that you feel are not relevant to your business or that you already have a strong understanding of, you may choose to skip them to allocate your time and resources more effectively. However, it’s important to consider the potential benefits of all activities before deciding to skip them.

    Ultimately, attending all activities on a business accelerator can help you maximize the potential benefits of the program, but it’s important to balance this with your specific business needs and goals.

  • What are the key dates of the programme?

    Activities marked with a asterisk (*) are compulsory/non-negotiable where relevant

    1. Open Call – Applications Open – 25 April 2023*
    2. Q&A session for FutureScope Black Founders programme – 28 April, 5, 12, 19, 26 May
    3. Programme Briefing Event – 10 May 2023
    4. Open Call – Application Deadline – 29 May 2023 at 23:59*
    5. Interviews (one 20 min session) – 13 – 20 June 2023*
    6. Notification of application status – 22 – 23 June 2023
    7. Contracting – 26 June – 14 July 2023*
    8. Programme Start Date – 17 July 2023*
    9. Programme Activities
    • Kick Off event – 20 July 2023*
    • Business Health Scan (one session) – 24 – 28 July 2023*
    • Investment Health Scan (one session) – 24 – 28 July 2023*
    • Investment Readiness Masterclasses – 15 Aug, 12 Sep, 4 Oct
    • Coaching – Aug – Oct 2023*
    • Mentor & Cohort Mixer – September 2023
    • Business Masterclasses – Aug – Oct 2023
    • Digital Entertainment Masterclasses – Aug – Oct 2023
    • Investment Workshop – 6 September 2023*
    • Pitching Live Lounge – 10 – 11 October 2023
    • Final programme event (one session) – 30 Oct – 17 Nov*

    10. Programme End Date – November 2023

    Dates and activities can be subject to change. Digital Catapult will endeavour to provide as much notice as possible to applicants/participants should any changes arise.

  • What are the benefits of the FutureScope Black Founders Programme?

    Digital Catapult is unique in its ability to connect high potential companies with established businesses, investors, government and public sector, research and academia – to discover new ways of solving industry challenges, increasing productivity and opening up new markets.

    Across the programme, a range of sessions and events are provided to support participants in scaling their commercial, operational and technical activity.

    These include:

    • Diagnostic Sessions – 1:1 sessions with experts and mentors to determine your current business and investment needs.
    • Investment guidance – Business and investment support, based on the findings of your diagnostic sessions, including sessions with experienced investors.
    • No fees or equity required – Applying to and participating in FutureScope is free, and Digital Catapult does not ask for equity in return for support.
    • Potential for funding opportunities – Successful completion of the Black Founders programme can open the door to potential funding opportunities as part of our FutureScope alumni community.
    • Peer Support – Build relationships, share insights, and collaborate on projects with other non competing entrepreneurs through group coaching sessions and networking events.
    • Masterclasses & mentoring from Digital Entertainment experts – Learn from Sony Music UK and other arts, music, gaming and advertising specialists and build your network. Develop and improve business planning, commercial strategy, pricing and positioning, operational processes and investment readiness.
    • Access to state-of-the-art facilities & deep tech expertise – Visit one or more of our facilities including our immersive labs, SONIC labs and more. Learn how our facilities can support your business upon completion of the FutureScope programme
    • A programme final during which the FutureScope participants will present and network with an invited audience of investors, partners and industry representatives.
    • The opportunity to join the Digital Catapult alumni network, which keeps them informed of opportunities and relevant updates from the Digital Catapult, and additional opportunities to engage with Digital Catapult and other alumni.
  • What is the FutureScope Black Founders programme?

    The FutureScope Black Founders Programme is a 16-week accelerator targeted at high-growth potential pre-seed or seed stage companies creating innovative products and services in the Digital Entertainment industry.

    Sony Music Entertainment UK is a Programme Partner for this programme.

Application process

  • Can I receive preliminary feedback on my application before completion?

    Unfortunately, because of the high volume of applications, we do not provide feedback automatically. If you would like to receive feedback on your application, please send us an email stating so and we’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.

  • What is the selection criteria used for applications?

    Problem & Solution [25%]

    The applicant should demonstrate that their company is addressing a clear problem, as well as applying advanced technologies to tackle the challenges in the selected focus areas.

    Growth Potential [25%]

    The company should be capable of identifying the key challenges they are facing in the market. They should be able to identify a clear use for potential future investment.

    Business Strategy [25%]

    The company should be able to articulate its revenue model, who its customers are and objectives for the future.

    Ability to Execute [25%]

    The company and its employees should have the necessary experience and skill to consistently develop, deliver and commercialise their solution.


    The scoring criteria will be assessed based on the statements above.
    Each criterion will be scored on a range from 0 to 5 .
    0 being “Unacceptable” Score Key Assessment and 5 being “Excellent” Score Key Assessment.
    This scoring will be applied to all applications and will be equally weighted.


  • I’m not ready to apply yet – can I apply and be considered at a later date?

    FutureScope runs multiple open calls a year, if you’re not ready to apply at the moment please register your interest and we’ll let you know when future applications for other programmes are open.

  • How are applications selected?

    Register your interest – using the form here to register your interest, you should receive an email with the full application form and submission process. Please email [email protected] if you do not receive this.

    Application completion – To be considered for the programme you will need to submit the full online application form before the open call closing date 29 May 2023 at 23:59. You can save and return to your form as required. Applicants can submit a written or a video (maximum 8 minutes) application. Applicants must ensure all questions are answered otherwise their application may be rejected.

    Applications judged and shortlist – Once applications close, completed applications are judged and assessed based on the selection criteria and shortlist selected for review by Digital Catapult internal judges. In the case there are several applications of equal standing that are borderline, judges will conduct interviews with all shortlisted applicants for fairness. Their previous score will be made redundant and a new score generated based on the interview. Interviews will be conducted 13 – 20 June and last 20 minutes. The 10 highest ranked Applicants will be accepted onto the Programme.

    Selection and contracting – Once companies have been reviewed and the proposed teams selected by the Digital Catapult internal judges, we’ll communicate to successful and unsuccessful companies the status of their application and complete our contracting with successful startups. Successful applicants will be then notified and provided with a standard Programme Agreement for review. These contracts are standard and not negotiable. We do try and ensure these contracts are fair and reasonable. Invitation to a programme kick-off will then follow provisionally on the completion of this agreement.

  • Who is application data shared with?

    The application information will only be used for the purposes of the programme and its evaluation, and will only be retained for the duration of the programme (one year), and for participants on the programme for the evaluation period (maximum five years) and otherwise to comply with legal requirements.

  • Can I save my application to come back to later?

    Yes, the form we use for the full application process can be modified and saved at any time before the final submission date. After full submission and completion forms cannot be altered or edited.

  • Do we need to send a detailed business plan?

    At this stage, you just need to complete the online application form without sending us a detailed business plan. If you are one of the companies chosen to participate, then you will be expected to partake in a business health scan (diagnostic session) within the duration of the programme.

  • What information is asked for in the application form?

    The application form will seek more details about your:

    • Company information
    • Problem & Solution
    • Growth Potential
    • Business Strategy
    • Team
    • Equity and legal
    • Ability to commit to attending our workshops and events
  • Can I speak to someone from the FutureScope team about my applications before submitting it?

    Yes. We are holding Q&A session on Friday mornings during the application window. Please select a 15 minute slot here to speak to one of the FutureScope team about your application. They are intended to be informal, open and accessible to anyone who wishes to participate in the programme, regardless of their background or experience level. They will not have an impact on the judging of your application.

Applicant company requirements

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