Dotforge Social Ventures Accelerator - Programme Manager

Full Time contract for 22 months @ 66,000 plus programme related travel
Start date 1 Nov 2014

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The Dotforge accelerator was established in 2012 to invest in early stage software companies and teams and support them to build their business around a product developed through customer engagement and testing. We have supported some amazing companies that came from around the world to join the accelerator and build their business. But we are not stopping there, we believe there is more to be done to foster the startup scene in the north of England and we are building further accelerators in Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester.

As part of our ambitious growth plan we have developed a new programme with partners Key Fund and the RSA to support tech entrepreneurs who want to have a social impact through their business as well as building a new startup. Dotforge Social Ventures is a 3 months accelerator plus 8 month incubator focused on supporting entrepreneurs who want to tackle big social challenges. We have secured investment from Big Lottery and Key Fund to run two pilot programmes in 2015.


Description of the Role
As the Programme Manager for Dotforge Social Ventures you will design and implement the two pilot programmes supporting up to 24 ventures in 2015 supported by the core team that has developed the existing Dotforge programmes.
You will be the main face of the accelerator working with our partners, the mentors and the teams to create the very best environment for these startups to thrive. The role requires someone who has a good understanding of what it takes to build products and services for mobile and web and you’re passionate about the potential of tech to create amazing, people focused solutions to everyday problems - big and small. Specifically you will be familiar with lean, UX and user focused methodologies for designing and building software products.

Your role will be to facilitate and support the teams as they develop their product, and be responsive to their needs while also keep the ventures focused on getting to market and getting customer engagement. You will also have good budget management skills and be responsible for managing the delivery budget for the programmes. As you will be close to the teams you will be expected to provide regular reports back to Big Lottery about their progress and how the programme is developing as it responds to the needs of the ventures.

You will led a team of two, our partner Key Fund will be seconding a social enterprise specialist onto the programme and you will be supported by a part time marketing and admin role.


Skills / Knowledge


  • Experience of software product development
  • Experience of team management in product delivery
  • Experience of small team management
  • Working knowledge of various user and customer feedback tools and methodologies
  • Financial / Budget management skills
  • Knowledge and active use of social media and web editing tools
  • Social and engaged - able to work with a wide range of people
  • Emotional Intelligence - able to support and engage with people
  • Social and engaged - able to work with a wide range of people


  • Hands on experience of Business Management (optional)
  • Organising and running workshops or events
  • Hands on experience of tech accelerator programmes, either as part of a delivery team or participant
  • Active knowledge of cloud based project management, event management, financial reporting and email management tools




  • Manage the delivery team for Dotforge Social Accelerator Programmes
  • Work with the project partners to refine and develop the programmes
  • Provide regular reports and evidence of impact for reporting to Big Lottery
  • Budget Management for the programme delivery
  • Work with Core Team to develop PR and marketing materials and blog content for the programme
  • Develop website strategy and content to inform sponsors, partners and future applicants
  • Liaising with hub managers in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield to locate the accelerator and run mentor days (supported by core dotforge team)

Programme Development

  • Design and development of programme content (supported by dotforge core team)
  • Lead on the implementation of the programmes
  • Identify and contract workshop and other providers for the programme
  • Promote the programme and actively recruit teams to the programme
  • Assessment and recruitment of applicants (supported by dotforge core team)
  • Develop mentor pool for the programme - specifically tech industry and business mentors
  • Lead on the strategic plan for website and social media content to inform sponsors, partners, investors and future applicants - directing Marketing and Admin support as appropriate for implementation

Programme Delivery - Accelerator

  • Working with the teams on a daily basis during the 3 month accelerator
  • Run weekly CTO meetings to support the developers within the teams
  • Lead the joint weekly review of the teams with the Social Enterprise Specialist and product a weekly report for partners and investors
  • Continue to recruit relevant contacts and mentors for the teams as they develop their product
  • Provide guidance for the teams on using analytics and other tools to capture user feedback and testing
  • Develop relevant pitch or demo days for the teams to promote their products and seek customers, advisors and investment (supported by the core dotforge team)
  • Work with private investors to support their engagement with the teams

Programme Delivery - Incubator

  • Providing regular support during the 8 month incubator, including office hours and regular review and board meetings
  • Work with the Social Enterprise Specialist to identify customers, supply chains and talent for the teams as they grow and mature their product
  • Providing connections into experts and potential customers for the enterprises
  • Develop other pitch and fundraising opportunities for the teams over the incubation period (supported by the core dotforge team)
  • Develop PR and media profile for the teams as they exit the accelerator and incubator
  • Work with private equity investors and VCs to promote the teams to support future fundraising

Evaluation and Future Development

  • Design questionnaires for teams, mentors, partners and other to gather feedback on the programmes
  • Use this feedback to refine the second accelerator programme
  • Support the development of final reporting on the accelerator and incubator programmes
  • work with partners and sponsors to develop future social accelerator programmes beyond the 2 pilot programmes

Powered by the Social Incubator Fund which is managed by Big Lottery for the Office for Civil Society, Cabinet Office. Project partners include dotforge, Key Fund and the RSA.