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Applications are open for the SXSW 2024 Foras Programme

Foras have announced the SXSW 2024 Foras Programme, proudly supported by the Scottish Ecosystem Fund 2023–24, with special thanks to Scottish Enterprise, and The Scottish Government.

After the success of excursions to Silicon Valley, Helsinki, New York, and Lisbon, Foras plans to take 14 founders and startup leaders on a funded programme to Austin, TX to coincide with the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference, 6–14 March 2024.

This March, they are hosting a fully-funded* journey to South by Southwest, one of the biggest conferences in the world. Becoming a global business is no easy task on a tight budget, so they’re handling the bills so you can focus on doing what you do best.

Foras are excited to partner with The Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, and Austin TX ecosystem builders to bring you this opportunity.

Through facilitated introductions, business visits, hands-on workshops, and investor-facing opportunities, you’ll develop deeper connections that will foster inspiration, accelerate your business, and broaden your professional network both in Scotland and internationally.

Why Austin?

Austin’s region is now home to more than 3,380 fast-growing companies. The city’s total combined enterprise value reached $115.3B in 2022 so far, up 2.7x over the 5 past years. Counter to overall US tech industry performance, Austin’s ecosystem value grew between 2021 and 2022 so far, regardless of economic volatility; making it one of the most resilient tech hubs globally.

The trip will coincide with South by Southwest, one of the biggest conferences in the world. 350,000+ founders, investors, cultural leaders and ecosystem builders will gather for 1-week of networking, learning, and sessions with world-leading experts.

We aim to ensure that innovative Scotland-based startup businesses, and our wider entrepreneurial ecosystem, are well represented during the conference.

What can you expect from the programme?

The term ‘Foras’ means growth, abroad, “for us”. We can see this as going forth, to look outwards, together, to meet and create a forum for discussion. Those values and intentions are at the root of the design of this programme.

This programme will build on recent successful cohort visits from the Foras team to Silicon Valley in April 2022, the Slush conference in Helsinki in Nov 2022, NYC in April 2023, and Web Summit in Lisbon in Nov 2023.

This opportunity will be useful for Scotland-based businesses considering US market entry, raising capital from international investors, and establishing international partnership opportunities in the States. In addition, this programme will foster peer relationships, founder education and break down barriers for some of Scotland’s most promising startup businesses who want to crack the next stage of their growth.

Expect to experience the vibrant culture of Austin TX, have quality time with established global startup success stories and Scottish diaspora businesses, visit world-class accelerators, and be part of unique networking opportunities with entrepreneurial representatives and investors from around the world at SXSW. The week will come to a close with a unique opportunity to pitch your business at an exclusive investor and ecosystem mixer event.

What’s the time commitment?

Although the programme is a week-long, we’ve kept the activity schedule fairly light. There will be 2 full days of cohort work and business activities before SXSW where you’ll be encouraged to manage your own schedule.

We understand you have a business to run, so there will also be ample free time and flexibility for work and meetings.

What you need to know:

What: 14-person entrepreneurial cohort programme

Where: Austin, Texas

When: 6–14 March 2024 (Inclusive)

*What we’re paying for:

  • Return flights from Edinburgh to Austin, TX
  • Twin-share hotel accommodation in Austin, TX with breakfast (subsidised upgrades upon request and availability)
  • Tickets to the SXSW conference
  • Activities, workshops, and professional visits including invite-only investor event
Key Dates
  • Mon 11th December: Applications open
  • Mon 8th January, 5pm: Applications close
  • W/C 8th January: Finalists invited to pitching event, unsuccessful emails sent
  • Wed 24th January, 11.00–15.00: Finalists pitching event (Glasgow)
  • Thurs 8th February, 11.00–15.00: Cohort briefing event (Edinburgh)
Who you are and requirements
  • Founder, Director or C-Suite Leader in a Scotland-based startup or scaleup. Applications are welcome from any industry, so long as you are a high-growth potential/scaleable business
  • Meet US travel/entry requirements (we will be accepting ONLY applicants who already have a US Visa or are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program/VWP)
  • Can commit fully to the programme (6–14 March) and the two mandatory pre-programme events (24 Jan & 8 Feb)
  • Excited to be part of this cohort and connect with the best and brightest from the global entrepreneurship scene

Applications close Monday 8th January 2024 at 5pm – apply now.

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