The final call is going out to entrepreneurs across Scotland to apply for the remaining places for this year’s Entrepreneurial Spark – and win a share of cash prize in the process.
Entrepreneurial Spark, the world’s largest free business accelerator programme, takes its latest intake of ‘chiclets’ for its hatcheries in Edinburgh, Ayrshire and Glasgow, in August.
The Glasgow intake is already full but spaces are still available in Ayrshire and Edinburgh – which will move to the Royal Bank of Scotland’s state of the art site at Gogarburn early next year.
But the deadline for entries is 7pm on Sunday, July 5 – so those keen to take part will need to act quickly.
Those who are successful get access to the programme for up to six months, with potential to continue for another 12 for the most promising.
Access to the Scottish hatcheries include physical office space, superfast internet, a start-up bootcamp, dedicated mentoring, regular events, workshops and training – all free of charge.
It also offers access to a community of several hundred entrepreneurs based across the UK, education, training, networking events, and a chance to win cash prizes in the Entrepreneuring Awards at the end of the programme – no strings attached.
The Royal Bank of Scotland is a partner, and experts from the bank are on-hand to offer chiclets support and advice.
Some of Scotland’s most successful business people Sir Tom Hunter, Lord Willie Haughey and Dr Anne Gloag OBE, offer their experience and advice to chiclets too.
Victoria Hamilton of product manufacturing development business, VH Innovations, is a current ‘chiclet’.
The 24-year-old enrolled in the Entrepreneurial Spark scheme after university, working from the Ayrshire hatchery and the hub at Strathclyde University.
She explained: “Entrepreneurial Spark was one of the best things I ever got involved in. My product development business was borne from one of my projects at university, but I didn’t have any marketing and sales experience, nor the contacts to take my idea forward.
“The programme has provided both – as well as giving me office space in Ayrshire and Glasgow. It is one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
Simon Greenway has been selected for entry for this year. He has two businesses, Crafty Simon – a jewellery design start-up aimed at the outward bound market, and Rig Pigz, a safety clothing manufacturer for offshore workers in the oil and gas sector.
Based in Dundee, the former soldier intends to commute to Edinburgh to take part.
He said: “I can’t wait to get involved. Entrepreneurship is crucial if we want to keep taking the country forward and there are a lot of great people out there with some great ideas.
“But no one has all the resources, contacts or experience. This will really help me harness all of this and give me the help that I need to make Crafty Simon and Rig Pigz work.”
Carl Haagensen, Royal Bank of Scotland’s Entrepreneurial Development Manager for Scotland, ran his own start-up before joining the bank and is calling on keen entrepreneurs to enrol for August.
He said: “This is a superb opportunity for budding entrepreneurs and those who have just started on their journey to access some first-class support.
“The successful applicants will get to work in a collaborative atmosphere in the hatchery with plenty of access to the local team from Royal Bank of Scotland as well as our wider networks.
“We have already received a number of exciting applications from across the country but we know there are many more out there who should think about taking part.”
Jim Duffy, founder of Entrepreneurial Spark, added: “The sheer interest in Entrepreneurial Spark is phenomenal. We’ve had so many applications across all our locations and we’ve been inspired with the sheer energy and imagination of the businesses and entrepreneurs.
“We can’t wait to start working with our new Chiclets come August and continue to build on the results to date alongside our partners at the Royal Bank of Scotland.”
For more information on the Scottish hatcheries and details of how to apply, visit: www.entrepreneurial-spark.com