Entrepreneurial Spark Accelerator Hits Birmingham

Press release:

“On Monday 9th February, Entrepreneurial Spark opened its doors to 80 new businesses at St Philips Place in Birmingham City Centre.

Last year, NatWest and RBS announced their support for a multi-million pound support package for entrepreneurs across the UK, through which businesses receive free office space, business support, access to mentors and top tier expertise for the next 6 to 18 months. After the success of the Entrepreneurial Spark programme in Glasgow, Birmingham is the first of eight new accelerator spaces to be opened in England with Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester, Leeds, Ayrshire, Belfast and Edinburgh to follow.

Entrepreneurial Spark is the world’s largest free business accelerator for early stage and growing start-ups. The team have developed an ‘entrepreneurial enablement’ programme that takes entrepreneurs through a series of cognitive and action focused development processes.

The launch of the Birmingham hatchery followed a bootcamp in which all 80 businesses took part before officially starting on the programme on Monday 9th February. The bootcamp included sessions on developing yourself as an entrepreneur, the entrepreneurial mindset, using business tools to identify your customer and how to enhance your business model. The launch event was attended by a host of guests, including CEO of RBS, Ross McEwan, CEO of RBS Commercial and Private Banking, Allison Rose and CEO of Entrepreneurial Spark, Jim Duffy. The launch event included a pitch event, where the hub’s top 5 businesses pitched to win several thousand pound from NatWest on the spot.  The pitch event was won by Virtalent, a company that matches busy entrepreneurs with a UK Virtual Assistant, who carries out tasks and projects for entrepreneurs who don’t have the time or skills to complete themselves.

Jim Duffy, CEO of Entrepreneurial Spark, said: “We are delighted to be launching in Birmingham today with NatWest. Our tried and tested accelerator programme has already had a significant impact on the start-up community in Scotland, helping 350 businesses to create over 1,000 jobs and £41million in turnover to date. Birmingham has been found in a number of pieces of research to be the most entrepreneurial city in the UK, so it’s a fitting place for our first hub in England. Our message to entrepreneurs is work hard, focus and ‘Go Do’ to achieve the business success of your dreams.”

All entrepreneurs have the opportunity to access the accelerator for 18 months, working alongside their fellow entrepreneurs, NatWest and RBS staff and business mentors who provide help and support throughout the programme. Alongside this, the entrepreneurs will be given the opportunity to pitch to potential investors and mentors to gain their valuable insight to improve their businesses.

Ross McEwan, summed up the programme by saying: “In a way the great thing about this for RBS and NatWest is that we’re helping businesses from the to grow, and that is the most important thing for us. I know that this will be a major success.”

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