What is a people accelerator?
A people accelerator’s aim is to validate, then increase the sales, turnover and size of a business. At Entrepreneurial Spark, we have a strong focus on broadening the mindset of our entrepreneurs. Our method is enablement-focused and entrepreneurs are taught to set goals that they are held accountable for. We also focus on networking and collaborating with our partners, fellow entrepreneurs, and members of the local business ecosystem, and external events, investment opportunities and teaching pitching to make you and your business credible, backable and investable.
Who is Entrepreneurial Spark partnered with?
Entrepreneurial Spark is partnered in Scotland by Royal Bank of Scotland, KPMG Enterprise, Dell Technologies and Harper Macleod. In England and Wales by NatWest, KPMG Enterprise, Dell Technologies and Pinsent Masons. In Northern Ireland by Ulster Bank, KPMG Enterprise, Dell Technologies and Pinsent Masons.
Why are Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest and Ulster Bank doing this?
This a step change in how they support entrepreneurial talent in the UK. By opening up their premises, mentoring and networking, 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 the bank 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.
Do I have to bank with Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest or Ulster Bank?
Absolutely not, though many of our businesses do choose to bank with NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland or Ulster Bank, once they become part of the programme and get to know their local banking team.
How does the programme work and how long can you stay?
Once accepted, you will sign our Enablement Service Agreement (ESA) or virtual enablement form. You and your team – if applicable – will then move into the Entrepreneurial Spark hub or prepare for a virtual programme. You will be supported and challenged by your Enabler to help you grow your business. If successful, you will have the opportunity to apply for our other programmes.
What is ‘enablement’?
Essentially, the team at Entrepreneurial Spark will support and just as importantly 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.
Are there any costs?
No, everything we provide is free to the entrepreneur.
Do you offer funding?
We do not offer funding. Instead, we focus on making sure that your business is investment ready, so that when it comes to seeking funds from outside sources, like investors, you know what questions you’re likely to be asked, and how to answer them.
Okay, so I want to apply but I am not ready to commit full time to my business. Can I still be a part of the programme?
We are committed to offering a world class service to every entrepreneur that joins our programmes, and we can tailor the support we offer to your needs. Once you have applied and if you are successful into the programme, you can speak with your Enabler about the kind of support you need. We ask all our entrepreneurs to have a view that they will move on to working on their business full-time in the future. We do offer a mix of virtual and face to face support, so there is flexibility around the support you receive and the other important commitments you may have.
What do I have to commit to?
We know the main currency desired most 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 day process giving you the chance to work with entrepreneurs in your area learning and solving action based real work problems entrepreneurially. Depending on which programme you are in, there are other dates and sessions – all of which will be clearly stated to you on application. Ultimately though, we ask you are fully committed to the programme and are ready to grab every opportunity with both hands.
How do I apply?
If you think Entrepreneurial Spark is for you and you can fully commit to all the compulsory dates, you are ready to apply. All applications are processed through our website – hit the ‘Apply’ button to get started.
How often do your programmes run?
Recently we’ve been taking feedback on the frequency of our intakes. Having reviewed the feedback, it seems the demand points us to six month intakes being the best means to truly accelerate entrepreneurs and provide them enablement which genuinely moves the dials and gives the best scope for breakthroughs and action.
Therefore, our next intake across all our UK hubs will be April 2018. This means that our application window will open in mid -January – ideal for when everyone is back bright and bushy tailed from the new year and festive break.
When do applications open?
When applications are open, you’ll see announcements on our social media feeds, as well as in our regular newsletters. Register your interest today to sign up to those newsletters and be the first to know when applications are open. We don’t have a hard deadline – we take applications until we have enough great businesses to fill each hub.
Why haven’t I heard back from my application?
We totally understand that it’s difficult to wait for something when you’re keen to get started. Our application window closes around 4 weeks before the upcoming intake and you will hear the outcome of your application within 10 working days of this date. The exact date can be found within your acknowledgement email received after submission.
Can I bring someone else to the interview?
Yes, you can bring someone else. The system will only allow you to book one person but that’s okay.
If I am unsuccessful in my application, what can I do next?
We have an intake every six months, so although you may be disheartened about not getting in to the programme for one intake – don’t worry. We will have a new intake of entrepreneurs three months later. You can reapply if your application was unsuccessful, and we will notify you on social media or through our newsletters as to when you can resubmit a new application.
I am not in the programme, but I really need business support. Can you help?
We are busy every day enabling and supporting hundreds of entrepreneurs and therefore we can’t offer any additional support to businesses out-with Entrepreneurial Spark.
Can I be part of the programme if I’m not trading yet?
Absolutely, but it’s important that you can demonstrate a good knowledge of your business and your customer, as well as showing that you have a mindset ready for growth and a willingness to be challenged. Having a great idea is only one part of the puzzle: it’s crucial that you have also researched your idea, and know that there’s a market for it beyond your friends and family.
Do you only take start-up businesses?
We take businesses at any stage of development, from initial concept right through to turning over millions of pounds. Our programmes are tailor-made to suit your business whatever stage you’re at.
Are non-UK residents able to take part in any of the programmes?
Currently anyone resident in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland is entitled to work in the UK and therefore apply to Entrepreneurial Spark without a visa.
As per UK Government guidelines, anyone outside the EEA or Switzerland will need a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.
To check the eligibility status for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa please go to the Gov.UK page.
This applies to all four programmes.