R/GA pairs with Lions Innovation to launch a start-up academy

The Drum

The 2015 Lions Innovation Festival program will include a ‘Start-up Academy’ developed in partnership with digital agency R/GA to help new companies sharpen their brand identity and focus business plans.

Two representatives from up to ten chosen start-ups will receive complimentary accommodation and passes to the festival, where they’ll take part in a mentorship program and be introduced to leading creatives and senior marketers.

Rob Dembitz, head of Lions Innovation, said: “Start-ups are integral to the industry. But what those in the early to mid-stages of development often need to take the next step is guidance on how to position themselves to the world’s biggest brands. As the global meeting place for those in marketing and communications, we’re ideally placed to provide access to that expertise.”

R/GA is active in the start-up space through its program called the R/GA Accelerator. Through this partnership, they will help tailor the academy program, vet applicants and advise participants.

Stephen Plumlee, global chief operating officer, EVP at the agency, said: “Our experience with the community has shown that what start-ups need most is help with strategy, positioning and exposure to key decision makers. By bringing talented companies to Lions Innovation, we’re giving them access to mentors, creatives and marketers that have the ability to transform their businesses.”

The program will end with an invite-only demo that will allow participants to pitch to an audience of media and agency execs, chief executives, and innovation and marketing officers.

Applications to the Start-up Academy are open to companies that are at early-stage to growth-stage with a working prototype or product in the market.

The Start-up Academy will take place from 22 June to 24 June in Cannes, France. Lions Innovation takes place from 25 – 26 June.