Finance · 20 February 2017

Record growth makes Entrepreneurial Spark the UK’s forerunning startup accelerator

Natwest
Entrepreneurial Spark is supported by a number of high-profile partners, including NatWest

Business accelerator Entrepreneurial Spark has published impressive new statistics, demonstrating its ongoing success at generating startup investment and confirming its status as the world’s largest free business accelerator.

In its 2017 “Impact report”, the NatWest-backed accelerator revealed that the UK startups it has supported since its creation have turned over £176m in total, and secured £151m in investment.

The number of jobs created by businesses supported by Entrepreneurial Spark have reached 3,152, having a hugely positive impact on the UK economy, the report confirmed.

In another startling statistic, businesses that have completed the Entrepreneurial Spark programme have an average survival rate of more than double the UK national average.

Some 85 per cent of the accelerator’s startup alumni are still trading, compared to 40 per cent UK-wide – the result of a “people-centric and action-orientated approach” to business and a focus on “resilient leadership”, the report explained.

Commenting on the latest statistics, Entrepreneurial Spark CEO Lucy-Rose Walker described her gratification that the accelerator was creating positive social changes by contributing to local communities and economies.

“The stats are truly mind blowing and we’ve enabled our entrepreneurs to create real jobs, huge turnover and significant investment via our focus on developing their entrepreneurial mindsets and behaviours,” she said.

In 2016, Entrepreneurial Spark opened new hubs across all sectors and in an increasing number of UK regions. The coming year will see the accelerator launch its thirteenth hub, in London, and the first free dedicated fintech accelerator in Scotland – where the accelerator’s first hub launched.

Walker added: “Our vision is to create positive social change by giving people the chance to grow and create jobs, and value in the economy.

“Our partnership with NatWest is such a powerful one, and enables us to give hands-on practical help to startups of every kind, from that first spark of an idea, right up to bigger businesses needing to scale and grow.”

NatWest, part of the RBS banking group, is joined by a host of other high profile corporations in its support of Entrepreneurial Spark.

KPMG Enterprise, Dell Technologies and Pinsent Masons have all partnered on the project, and have collectively enabled over 1,700 UK businesses to grow and scale-up in total.

In a recent statement, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the progress and entrepreneurial buzz created by initiatives like Entrepreneurial Spark.

“I am delighted that [RBS’s’] partnership with Entrepreneurial Spark continues to go from strength to strength and more and more entrepreneurs are creating great businesses as a result,” added Sturgeon.

“It is vital for the economy that start-up businesses are given all the support they need to succeed and the combination of the bank’s networks and connections and Entrepreneurial Spark’s know-how is a powerful mix.”

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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