The London Stock Exchange and Imperial College London today launched a new initiative that is designed to support some of the UK’s fastest-growing companies, including several in the technology sector.

The initiative, dubbed ELITE, consists of a 24-month programme that aims to provide businesses with business support tools, education services and access to a select group of advisers and investors.  

Of the 19 businesses selected for the initial cohort, nine are classed as "technology" companies. However, some may argue that firms such as online food retailer Graze and online wine retailer Naked Wines aren't true technology companies, in contrast to Intrinsic, a provider of managed IT services and hybrid cloud solutions, and personal finance software provider Money Dashboard.

According to the exchange, founders and CEOs will learn how to adapt and shape their businesses for further long-term growth and how to increase their visibility and attractiveness to potential investors.

Xavier Rolet, CEO of the London Stock Exchange Group, said that the environment in the UK is “ripe” for a programme of this nature..

"ELITE will provide high growth companies with the essential tools they need to develop and help foster a connected financial ecosystem, promoting the right type of funding for businesses at each stage of their journey,” he said.

“Innovative businesses are often the most ambitious companies, but to get ahead they need new resources, new relationships and new funding which many businesses find challenging or time consuming to access.”

The first cohort includes technology, manufacturing, healthcare, retail and media businesses.

As the initiative develops, the 213-year-old exchange said it plans to accept multiple cohorts every year.

In order to qualify for the programme, which is backed by a number of trade bodies, including UKTI and Tech City UK, businesses must be revenue generating and rapidly growing.

Anand Anandalingam, Dean of Imperial College Business School, said Imperial will share its academic expertise with business leaders through the programme. 

“We look forward to helping equip the first ELITE company CEOs with the tools they need to take their businesses to the next level,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tech City UK chairman Joanna Shields said the programme will play a vital role in the development of high quality tech and digital companies, while helping the UK tech sector to compete with that of the US.

“ELITE will further raise the profile of the tech sector amongst professional investors, helping to build essential sector expertise to compete with the pull of the US markets and ensure that British firms create high quality jobs here in the UK,” she said.

The ELITE programme starts today and is based on a similar scheme in Italy, which has so far helped 130 companies over the past two years.

ELITE "technology" companies: