The Amazon Innovation Accelerator is back for 2024 and has expanded to seven locations across the UK this year. Through the Accelerator, businesses will benefit from two days of in-person training workshops delivered by senior Amazon leaders, two site tours demonstrating the latest technologies being used by Amazon, along with a series of virtual masterclasses covering how businesses can create a culture of innovation within their own organisations.

The Amazon Small Business Accelerator has worked with industry and government partners to produce a series of reports aimed at helping small businesses thrive. Here are the results.

In March, we kickstarted the 2024 Accelerator in Greater Manchester, inviting local businesses to participate in an all-day training workshop at our Bolton Robotics Centre. We will host subsequent cohorts for the remainder of the year at our facilities across the UK.

Here are five things you need to know about the Accelerator.

Amazon Innovation Accelerator

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1. What is the Amazon Innovation Accelerator?

The Accelerator is a free training programme which seeks to take a different approach towards supporting small businesses. By offering a behind the scenes look at how we have scaled our own operations in the UK, the Accelerator aims to provide a more dynamic and engaging setting for sharing best practice.

The month-long Accelerator provides small business owners with:

  • Practical training workshops on topics including leadership and management, continuous improvement and adopting a growth mindset.
  • Insights into Amazon’s approach to innovation and adopting new technologies, including a walk-through of one of Amazon’s sites to see the tech in practice.
  • Virtual masterclasses with guest speakers on topics including data, digitalisation, sustainability and social value.
  • Networking opportunities with Amazon’s teams and other participating businesses.

2. Where is it available?

The Accelerator launched as a pilot in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands in 2023 and this year will be available in seven locations across the country:

  • Bolton (March-April)
  • Swansea (May-June)
  • Sutton Coldfield (June)
  • Stockton-on-Tees (June-July)
  • Dunfermline (August-September)
  • Wakefield (September - October)
  • Dartford (September-October)
Small businesses in Greater Manchester attend the Amazon Innovation Accelerator

3. How can businesses apply?

Small businesses operating in the manufacturing, engineering, logistics, retail or related industries and employing 50 or more staff or generating a turnover of at least £5 million are eligible to apply for participation in the Accelerator.

Businesses can apply to be part of the cohort in one of the locations listed above. Application forms for some regions will open closer to the start date, but if you are interested please contact aia-uk@amazon.com directly for more information.

4. How does Amazon innovate?

Amazon launched in the UK in 1998 to make customers’ lives easier with great value, selection and convenience of its most popular products. Since then, our customer obsession continues to be the driving force behind some of the top innovations that support our communities, small businesses and employees.

Amazon Handmade sellers and small-and-medium sized craft businesses are part of the 100,000 small businesses supported by Amazon in the UK, transforming their creative talents into global success.

Since 2010, Amazon has invested £56 billion in the UK and is one of the nation’s top 10 private sector employers with around 75,000 people who help to innovate on behalf of customers every day.

This includes more than 2,700 employees at our development centres across the UK including Cambridge, Edinburgh, London and Swansea who work on projects such as Prime Video, Alexa and personalised shopping experience on our online stores.

5. Why is innovation important for Amazon?

Amazon has been serving customers in the UK for 25 years and we know how important it is to maintain a start-up mentality and find new ways to innovate.

100,000 UK-based small and medium enterprises sell their products in Amazon’s stores and, in 2022, UK small businesses selling on Amazon recorded over £3 billion in export sales.

If you are interested in learning more, or in signing up for one of the Amazon Innovation Accelerators, get in touch at aia-uk@amazon.com.