Entrepreneurial Spark, the world’s largest free business accelerator, opens in Bristol in August

SW entrepreneurs can apply for free office space, events, workshops and networking
18th March 2015

Entrepreneurial Spark is the world’s largest free business accelerator – or ‘hatchery’ – for early stage and growing ventures, and it will be coming to the South West in August.

Located in the NatWest building in Trinity Quay, central Bristol, it will welcome applicants from any sector, from early stage businesses, to those who have been trading for up to 4 years with less than a £1million turnover.

Did you say free?

Funded by NatWest, entrepreneurs accepted on the programme will receive free office space and facilities within a collaborative environment, mentoring, workshops, support and challenge during the course of the programme, which can last up to 18 months. You can see more in the video below:

The aim is to develop entrepreneurs who have a go-do attitude with a solid grasp of how to create value… which then makes them investable. Developing the mind-set and behaviours of the individual is key, with the ultimate goal of accelerating their growth and likelihood of success.

“Bristol is a city with a growing entrepreneurial culture, and we want to help nurture that and allow start-up businesses to reach their full potential”

 

Regular competitions within the hatchery will see prizes of up to £50,000 in investment up for grabs, and a programme of events will include days to bring the whole entrepreneurial ecosystem of investors, entrepreneurs, advisors and NatWest relationship managers together.

This will allow the entrepreneurs to not only tap into the business knowledge on offer, but also the valuable contacts of those involved with the programme, helping to make their innovative business ideas a reality.

Building on success

Entrepreneurial Spark opened its first hub in Birmingham earlier this year and is setting up a further seven hubs across the UK. The multi-million pound partnership allows Entrepreneurial Spark and RBS and NatWest to offer free regional support to thousands of budding entrepreneurs.

“Our three Scottish business incubators have so far supported 350 fledging entrepreneurs and created more than 1,000 jobs”

 

Jim Duffy, CEO of Entrepreneurial Spark, said: “Our three Scottish business incubators have so far supported 350 fledging entrepreneurs and created more than 1,000 jobs. Building on our relationship with RBS and NatWest has allowed us to expand into eight new cities, including Birmingham last month and now Bristol.

 

NatWest-and-Entrepreneurial-Spark-Bristol

Here to help: From left, Jim Duffy of Entrepreneurial Spark, Haydn Thomas,
NatWest’s managing director of business banking for South West and Wales,
and Gordon Merrylees, RBS and NatWest’s head of entrepreneurship.

“Launching in the South West is very exciting,” Jim adds. “Bristol is a city with a growing entrepreneurial culture, and we want to help nurture that and allow start-up businesses to reach their full potential.”

Haydn Thomas, NatWest’s managing director of business banking for South West and Wales, agrees: “This is a superb opportunity for budding entrepreneurs and those who have just started on their journey in Bristol and the South West to access some first-class support.”

Get involved with the mentoring

entrepreneurial-spark-bristoolAs well as entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurial Spark are looking for business leaders to get involved with helping the startups, and are also looking for a Bristol-based Entrepreneurial Manager to help support, develop, coach and mentor around 40 entrepreneurs and their daily challenges within the Entrepreneurial Spark Accelerator Programme.

When can I apply?

Think you’re an entrepreneur who has got what it takes to create a successful business? You can apply for the programme now – just pop along to the Entrepreneurial Spark website.

You can see more information and examples of what they have done before at the Entrepreneurial Spark site, and keep up to date with developments by following them on Twitter: @ESparkUK