PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the world’s ‘Big Four’ professional services firms with annual revenues of $34 billion last year, has launched a new startup accelerator in Northern Ireland.

PwC’s Ignite accelerator is calling for applications from technology startups that are headquartered in Northern Ireland and have been trading for at least two years. Startups should also have the potential to deliver turnover of at least £1 million within the next two years and have a clearly defined opportunity for international expansion.

No funding or equity will change hands, but the five winning startups will benefit from PwC’s expertise, advice and global networks, receiving a tailored 12 month mentoring programme, a year’s subscription to PwC’s cloud-based accounting service, valuable networking opportunities, global media exposure and a three-day trip to California to explore expansion and collaboration opportunities in Silicon Valley.

PwC is not the only multinational professional services firm developing innovation programmes to support and collaborate with high-growth startups. Accenture, a global management consulting firm headquartered in Dublin, has partnered with some of the world’s leading banks to launch the Fintech Innovation Lab, a network of startup accelerators for the fintech sector based in London, Dublin, Hong Kong and New York.

EY, another of the ‘Big Four’ professional services firms with revenues of $27.4 billion, partnered with ENTIQ last year to launch the first EY Startup Challenge in London, and is repeating the Challenge again this summer. In Ireland EY has also announced a partnership with BioInnovate Ireland to accelerate the growth of Ireland’s healthtech and bioscience startups.

The deadline for applications to PwC’s Ignite accelerator is 31st May, with a shortlist of startups then pitching their technologies to a panel of PwC executives and industry experts before the five winning companies are chosen.

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