A double decker bus will be parked up outside Bristol’s tech and creative incubator, the Engine Shed later this month, and its passengers will be keen to talk to aspiring and early ­stage entrepreneurs. They will be offering free, impartial advice to help you start or grow your business.

Start Up Bus tourStartUp Britain’s StartUp Bus Tour aims to encourage more people to turn their business ideas into action and connect them with local and national organisations. It brings a selection of business minds that will inspire and advise anyone thinking about starting a business or looking to grow their startup. And, if you are a lively local entrepreneur who wants to spend a day inspiring others to follow in your path, you can join them on board!

“Bristol is a great place for any budding entrepreneur to start something amazing”


Already signed up to meet and greet members of the public at the Bristol bus stop on Friday 22 July are Monika Radclyffe director of SETsquared – the business accelerator for high-tech, high-growth startups – and four volunteers from different SETsquared ventures.

Gareth Williams founder of YellowDog – the app that pays for your PC’s processing power to help create animation will be volunteering too. He tells us, “Bristol has got to be one of the best places in the UK to start a business. Whether it’s the success and vibrancy of its tech, creative and cloud clusters, its access to talent, the quality of life here, or the quality of the cider, Bristol is a great place for any budding entrepreneur to start something amazing.”

Honk Honk!

Now in it’s fifth year, the StartUp Bus will visit 30 towns and cities in NatWest’s iconic 1966 Routemaster bus. It’s part of the effort for non-for-profit campaign StartUp Britain to reach out to entrepreneurs and build a community of support and advice. They have a national network, and you can find business support local to you using their online cluster map.

The successful 2015 tour saw some impressive highlights, including: the launch in Downing Street with former prime minister David Cameron and business secretary Sajid Javid on board and over 24.5 million engaged in the Twitter hashtag #StartUp Tour.

Other stops in the South West include Salisbury and Cheltenham. TechSPARK spoke to Nick Sturge director of the Engine Shed who is looking forward to hosting the stop in Bristol. He tells us, “There is already a lot of startup activity [in the South West] and an increasing profile of all the different startup support options, like Entrepreneurial Spark, Spike Design, Bristol Robotics Laboratory, SETsquared, WebStart, Pervasive Media Studio and so on, so it is great that the Startup Bus will help increase that profile to help new and serial entrepreneurs find out more about what’s going on and available.”

StartUp Tour Map 2016

This message is echoed by Gareth who sees the importance of raising awareness, “I’m hoping it will help to raise the level of awareness of some of the great stuff that happens here. This will be useful as it can help to attract talent, help with funding and may encourage others to start their own exciting project.”

Roundtable event

This year the bus will host roundtable events in each location, the topic up for discussion is ‘The Health of the Local Entrepreneurship Ecosystem’. Nick, who will chairing Bristol’s discussion goes on to say, “The roundtables will be a great opportunity to find out about and contribute to our local eco-system.

 “We will also take the opportunity to all learn from each other which will help us strengthen our ecosystem, and create more growth”


“Is it really working as well as the pundits are saying, and what can we do to make it work even better for startups and scale-ups? We will also take the opportunity to all learn from each other which will help us strengthen our ecosystem, and create more growth!”

If you are an an aspiring / early stage entrepreneur wanting advice, come on board when the bus visits your town/city! Visit www.startupbritain.org/bus to see the full tour schedule, or sign up to Bristol’s stop here. Follow them on Twitter @StartUpBritain or on with the hashtag #StartUpTour.

If you would like to be a representative for an organisation involved within the ecosystem, you are welcome to join the roundtable, get in touch via email.

Or, if you are an entrepreneur wanting to give advice get in touch via email. They welcome energetic, local entrepreneurs, knowing that you have the best understanding of the local entrepreneurship ecosystem.