FAQs

If you are interested in our Virtual Accelerator with HIE please see FAQs here.

In a nutshell!

We are a People Accelerator! We offer a six-month programme for entrepreneur’s looking to either start a business or expand their existing business absolutely free of charge.

As part of the programme, we offer a specialist enablement programme for all successful applicants which includes; specialist mentoring, internal and external events, investment opportunities, pitching to make you and your business Backable, Investable and Credible.

To secure a place you must follow a two-step registration process; Register then log in and complete the ‘Chiclet Application’ form. You will hear from the team within 15 working days.

What is the exact criteria for applying?

Anyone can apply. We accept businesses at all stages and all sectors.

Is Entrepreneurial Spark® a Public body or Government body?

Entrepreneurial Spark® is private company.  It is a social enterprise, not for profit company that is limited by guarantee. It has both private and public funding.  Entrepreneurial Spark® is registered in Scotland, but based throughout the UK and India.

Do you give business advice or mentoring to those who are not in the Hatchery?

Sorry, we would love to but we can only focus on those companies within our specific Hatchery locations.

Where is Entrepreneurial Spark® based?

Entrepreneurial Spark® is growing. For more information please view our locations page.

Who is Entrepreneurial Spark partnered with?

Entrepreneurial Spark is partnered with Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, Ulster Bank, KPMG and EMC.

Is Entrepreneurial Spark® part of the bank?

Entrepreneurial Spark and the RBS Group (NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank) are working in partnership to step up their support for thousands of entrepreneurs and high growth businesses, enabling a further network of nine new business accelerator hubs to be delivered throughout the UK.

Why are NatWest and RBS doing this?

This a step change in how NatWest and RBS support  entrepreneurial talent in the UK. By opening up their premises, mentoring and far reaching network, they are backing the businesses of tomorrow and helping ambitious entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level – which is good for entrepreneurs, good for us and ultimately good for the UK economy.

This is about supporting the UK’s economic recovery and Natwest believe that small business and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of that economy. There is no catch for businesses. This is purely a scheme to help entrepreneurs run better businesses and this partnership is here to facilitate that.

How does the programme work and how long can you stay?

Once accepted, you will sign our occupancy agreement.  You and your team – if applicable – will then move into the Entrepreneurial Spark® Hatchery. Here you will be supported and challenged daily by your Enabler to help you grow your business. You can stay within Entrepreneurial-Spark® for up to 6 months.  If suitable and still capable of accelerating, there is the opportunity for you and your team to gain further support for an additional 12 months.  Meaning High Impact start-ups can therefore stay with us for up to 18 months.

What is Entrepreneurial Enablement?

Essentially, the team at Entrepreneurial Spark® will support and challenge you and your team.  This will normally take place in a safe and confidential environment – our Ideation Space.  Our questions will be very focussed and robust in style.  The aim is to generate a new level of thought and granularity around your business to Enable clear metric setting and definable outcomes.

What is Ideation?

Ideation is essentially taking a close look at your business, whatever stage it is at and asking a series of robust questions to check you have thought all aspects through. This can be challenging but is also creates light bulb moments.

Are there any costs?

No, everything we provide is free to the entrepreneur:  computers, software, broadband, desks, phones, phone lines, meeting rooms, board rooms, Enablement, mentors, parking (where applicable).

Do you take equity stakes?

No.

How much funding do Entrepreneurial Spark® companies receive?

You will receive no funding from Entrepreneurial Spark® – our aim is to reduce the initial cost associated with an early stage venture. However more importantly getting you and your venture into a position where you are both investable and backable. Whether looking for significant investment or a small bank loan, we will make sure you know your business inside out.

During 2014 Entrepreneurial Spark® companies have collectively:

  • Turned over £41,154,262
  • Raised £18,035,920 in funds
  • Created 1028 jobs
  • Filed for 386 patents/TMs/Franchises
  • As of October 2014 Entrepreneurial Spark® has supported over 450 companies
I’m a single founder. Can I get accepted into Entrepreneurial Spark®, or do you only look for teams?

We accept teams and solo entrepreneurs, and will support you in growing a team if desired during your time with us.

Do I need to be full-time?

Startups can be full-time or part-time, but must have the oomph to make progress. We ask all our entrepreneurs to have a view that they will move onto working on their business full-time in the future. The more you are physically in Entrepreneurial Spark® and the more you engage in the process the more you get from it.

What do I have to commit to?

We know the currency used by all entrepreneurs is time, so we don’t take too much of it. We only have a few compulsory elements that we ask you to attend. Firstly, you must be able to attend #GoDoBootCamp, a two day process giving you the chance to work with entrepreneurs in your area learning and solving action based real work problems entrepreneurially. The second part is the Acceler8 programme, a one day session approximately three months in to your enablement. This gives you a burst of energy and a renewed focus. Finally, every two weeks, we ask you to attend a one hour pre-determined meeting with your enabler, designed as a catch up and “what’s next” session, and one fortnightly Event Night that will be held within Hatchery on a Wednesday evening. Event nights are made up of various workshops, presentations, group work and outside speakers and are there to develop you and your business.

How often to you take in new businesses?

We take in new businesses twice per year in February and August.

It all sounds a bit daunting..?

Nothing in life is easy.  Starting a business is one of the toughest, but rewarding things a person can ever do.  Sure, you may have to step outside your comfort zone.  That is when you will learn new stuff.  The team at Entrepreneurial Spark® will support you.  It is a friendly, creative, safe place where we proactively want to make things happen for you.

How do I apply?

If you think Entrepreneurial Spark is for you and you can fully commit to all the compulsory dates for your Hatchery you are ready to apply.

If you are already registered your email address and created a password, click the ‘Log In’ button at the top right-hand-side of the screen and sign in using the details you created during registration and complete the ‘Chiclet Application’ form.

If you have not registered, please click ‘Apply Now’ to register, then follow the steps above.

You will hear from the team within 15 working days on whether they would like to meet you for an interviewIf you are a high impact entrepreneurs who wants to grow your business then the first step is to complete the online application form with as much detail as you can. Tip: Think out your business model and who you believe your customers are.

What happens then?

We constantly review applications and have ongoing interviews so we will contact you and bring you in for a short interview.  If all goes well, we will offer you a place.

What is a typical week like for an entrepreneur in Entrepreneurial Spark®?

It all depends on you.  Some entrepreneurs work 16 hour days, are totally focused, opportunity obsessed and nothing will stop them from achieving their goals.  Some work at a more measured pace.  You may spend a great deal of time in the Entrepreneurial Spark® space creating your new venture.  You may spend half the day selling to customers.

How you use the space and develop your venture is your call.

But remember you must be here to get the best out of your time in Entrepreneurial Spark®.

How do you measure my success?

Our Entrepreneurial Enablers go through ideation with you, monitor how you engage, interact, develop, network, liaise with mentors, attend events and how positive and committed you are.  They are always on you and watching you…!  The main point to note here is – YOU measure your success as your metrics are set by you.

What should I do if I experience any problems with my online portal?

Any issues logging in, accessing your details or booking an interview slot, please take a screenshot of the error and email to hello@entrepreneurial-spark.com and our technical team will investigate.

Can I bring someone else to the interview?

Yes you can bring someone else to the interview. The system will only allow you to book one person but that’s okay! Just let us know that we should expect more than one to the interview.