Applications are open for the November intake at the Bristol hub of the world’s largest free people accelerator for startup and scale-up businesses, Entrepreneurial Spark.

If you haven’t heard of it before, Entrepreneurial Spark is a socal enterprise set up to help encourage people with entrepreneurial ideas to convert them into successful businesses. NatWest has since added its support to the organisation, and now, basically, in Bristol the Entrepreneurial Spark programme has taken over a whole floor of the NatWest building and filled it with an attractive working space, mentors, and a team of budding entrepreneurs keen to work together to make their startup dreams come alive.

“We are a people accelerator, not just a business accelerator”


Entrepreneurial Spark chiclets

And free means free, by the way – companies that join the programme have no equity taken from them – they just have to be willing to knuckle down and do everything they can to make their business succeed.

Entrepreneurial Spark’s mission is to bring out the natural entrepreneurial leader within, and with encouraging statistics like “85% of the companies that have joined Entrepreneurial Spark are still trading today” and “We’ve helped raise £9.8million investment for the entrepreneurs who have joined” if you’re thinking of creating or growing a startup in the South West it’s well worth checking out.

Who should apply?

Matthew West, Entrepreneur Development Manager, Entrepreneurial SparkWe caught up with Matt West, Entrepreneur Development Manager at Bristol’s hub (pictured left) to find out who they are looking for in the new intake: “Entrepreneurial Spark wants to work with people and businesses who are growth minded. That means people who want to build a legacy and lasting impression – we are a people accelerator, not just a business accelerator – and people who want to continue to grow their offering.

“NatWest has a huge number of connections regionally who can add value regardless of business stage”


“People need to be willing to be challenged by a third party, they must have a desire to do something differently or learn something new, or they should have a bespoke leadership problem they are looking for help to resolve.”

Wondering if the hub would be right for you? You can pop over to the Bristol Entrepreneurial Spark hub and have a wander around it with Matt on its open day on 3 October.

Looking to scale up your company?

It’s not just for startups either, they are also looking to support ‘scale-ups’ – companies ready to grow past the startup stage. As Matt explains: “We are still working with very early stage entrepreneurs – idea through to pre-MVP launch – but we find that we are increasingly working with bigger businesses which have an established revenue base or have raised initial or series A funding.

“The problems don’t stop once a business is established, and we are finding that businesses which are starting to move into a ‘scale’ phase need very similar support as startups. In fact, they have an even more refined leadership ‘ask’ and we can work with them on this phase of their development for six months.  NatWest has a huge number of connections regionally who can add value regardless of business stage. ‘Scale’ businesses have a track record and credibility behind them, so it makes introductions, support and working relationships easier to establish.”

You can click here to book a Entrepreneurial Spark Bristol hub tour, or if you’ve already decided, you can apply to be part of the new Entrepreneurial SPARK intake here (the programme will start on 7 November). You can also follow Entrepreneurial SPARK on Twitter here: @esparkglobal