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Do you have a great business idea? Or have you already started to turn your dream into a reality? Either way, UK-based accelerator Entrepreneurial Spark® could help you take your idea forward and maximise its potential.
One of IdeaSquares’ founding partners, Entrepreneurial Spark® is the world’s largest free business accelerator for early stage and growing companies. Founded in Glasgow, Scotland, it aims to develop entrepreneurs with a positive attitude and a solid grasp of how to create value. With the support of its army of mentors and ambassadors, entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to develop their business acumen whilst growing their ideas over the course of six months initially. In addition to free office space, the benefits include opportunities to perfect your pitch; workshops in topics like PR, employment and investment; networking events and regular meetings with the Entrepreneurial Spark® team to help you set and meet your goals.
A mere glance at the statistics will show you the success of Entrepreneurial Spark’s individual-focused approach. Over 80% of companies Entrepreneurial Spark® has worked with since 2012 are still trading today. During the last three years, it has supported over 300 companies who have made a combined turnover of more than £40 million (over $60 million). The 386 patents that these businesses have been awarded once more highlight Entrepreneurial Spark’s passion for innovation.
Its successes have won the programme no shortage of admirers. Entrepreneurial Spark® has been praised by politicians across the political spectrum, even working with the Scottish government to develop a fund for entrepreneurs. Additionally, it has secured a three year sponsorship package from the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest, as well as separate deal with KPMG. Jim Duffy, CEO of Entrepreneurial Spark®, says, “Our shared vision with [our partners] is to create an entrepreneurial revival across the world and we can’t wait to take our success story to benefit a wider audience.”
From their initial bases in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Ayrshire and Birmingham, Entrepreneurial Spark® has expanded UK-wide. Later this year, they will open up new incubators (or ‘Hatcheries’) in Leeds, Bristol and Brighton. Beyond this, there are plans to take Entrepreneurial Spark® to Manchester, Cardiff and Belfast. These Hatcheries contain workspaces for up to 80 entrepreneurs selected to join the programme through a competitive application process, with each Hatchery bringing in two intakes per year. The graduation events include prizes for outstanding businesses and chances to pitch for funding. On top of this, Entrepreneurial Spark® is introducing a new annual awards night, where startups nationwide will battle it out for a piece of a £1 million cash pot.
With applications now open for many of Entrepreneurial Spark’s incubators, Duffy is keen to attract ambitious entrepreneurs. “We are looking for people who are going to be determined, are committed and work hard. They don’t need to have the best or most innovative ideas in the world but are going to show behaviours that are going to lead them to be successful. The way we recruit people to the programme is they have to have the look in their eye, the spark that says I am going to do something.”
IdeaSquares is proud to be partners with Entrepreneurial Spark® in supporting early stage business ideas. If you are looking for feedback and support for your idea, click ‘Add your square’ to get started.
Applications for Entrepreneurial Spark® Hatcheries in Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Ayrshire are open now. To find out more – or to register your interest in any other location – visit the Entrepreneurial Spark website.