If you are a European startup, you need to know about Springboard. Deadline 20th February.

If you are setting up a business, or know someone who is – and want a bit of SERIOUS help in getting going, you should consider applying to the Springboard programme – deadline 20th February. Springboard is a 13 week intensive programme of mentoring, office space, seed capital and a ‘smart community’ for startups.

Springboard sprang from the collison between a programme Red Gate Software ran in 2009 to develop smart software businesses and The Difference Engine run by Jon Bradford. The two ideas have been combined, along with the support of angel investors and NESTA to produce what looks like a killer proposition.

Springboard has also learnt a lot from some of the leading accelerator programs in the US, (particularly Y Combinator and TechStars in the US) and adapting them to work in a European context.

Jon Bradford, the brains and brawn behind the programme says,

“What we’ve learned is that at the heart of Springboard should be the exchange of experience, advice, know-how and counselling provided by over 100 great mentors including experienced entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

“Alongside this we provide each founder with £5,000 (up to a maximum of three founders per startup). The founders move to Cambridge for the 13 week programme where they receive intense mentoring and business support.”

I should declare an interest – I am one of the mentors. I have spent a lot, (far too much), time over the past few years talking with interesting startups and entrepreneurs. For me, Springboard offers a way of getting involved with some fantastically sparky people in a structured way without  spending too much time away from my business. I think this is one of the reasons that Springboard has managed to attract so many extraordinary mentors to work on the programme – and me.

Applications for the Spring 2011 intake are open but close on 20th February so think about it, but think about it fast!

You can find out all about it by visiting the http://springboard.com/ website.

From Springboard themselves:

Springboard applications due to close 20 February

With less than a week to go, Springboard Cambridge is making its final call for applications to its Spring 2011 intake.

Springboard, the only TechStars Network partner in the UK, have assembled over 100 awesome mentors including serial entrepreneurs, Venture Capitals, Y Combinator alumni and all of the major tech corporates to help your startup achieve their real potential.  Springboard ends with the opportunity to pitch to venture capitalists and angel investors.

The full-time intensive bootcamp is based in Cambridge University and combines pre-seed investment capital, intensive mentorship, free office accommodation with many other free resources provided by our partners.

The investment capital is nice, but the real value of Springboard is the massive concentration of advice, guidance and contacts from our fantastic mentors, whilst working alongside like-minded entrepreneurs with the sole objective of building their own businesses across the 13 week programme.

More details can be found at www.springboard.com or you can contact Jon Bradford, MD of Difference Engine and Springboard, at jon@springboard.com.