Oxygen Accelerator, a Birmingham-based programme for startups, has put up a £75,000 prize to be won by one of the 10 participating teams.

We reported on the launch of Oxygen Accelerator last month. It’s a 13-week intensive mentoring and training ‘boot camp’ for businesses selected from around the world, and they will based at Birmingham Science Park Aston in the UK.

Founded by entrepreneur Mark Hales and Birmingham Science Park Aston, the Accelerator aims to identify and nurture tech companies of the future and will open up new channels to further investment.

As an additional incentive for the participating companies, Mark Hales has put up a £75,000 cash prize for the startup voted for by the mentors, investors and peers, as the ‘most improved’. This won’t mean that the overall ‘best’ company will win the prize, merely one that has “gained fruitfully from the programme and has proven its ability to continue to develop a sustainable business.”

The cash reward will be received 13 weeks after the programme has finished so not to influence the investment decisions of potential funders. Mark Hales said:

“Investing a further £75,000 into the team that has shown a marked improvement from when they joined the programme, will help fuel inspiration, determination and the passion needed to make a business work. I want to make clear that each team selected for this process is a winner to have come through the 13 weeks and this cash-injection is in no way a bias towards one particular company. It’s just another investment to be gained at the end of the process when each business will be pitching to investors on ‘Investor Day’.”

Applications are open until Thursday June 30th. The successful 10 will have access to a pool of state-of-the-art resources and also receive guidance from fellow successful tech entrepreneurs, business mentors and financial and legal support.

It’s unique for accelerator programmes to give away such a large sum of money with absolutely no strings attached, so this is a very good deal for the winning startup. With almost a week to go until the application deadline, we’ve been told that there has been no applications from women-led startups so far. So if you’re reading this ladies, there’s still time to apply.