Entrepreneurial Spark

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Entrepreneurial Spark is the world's largest free business accelerator offering business support to start-up companies. Founded in Glasgow, Scotland, Entrepreneurial Spark is funded by private capital, contributions from public sector organisations, and corporate sponsorship.

Founded in January 2012, it has accelerators originally known as 'Hatcheries' based in Scotland, in Glasgow, Ayrshire and Edinburgh;[1] in England in Birmingham, Bristol, Brighton, Leeds, Manchester, Milton Keynes and Newcastle and in Belfast, in Northern Ireland. An accelerator will open in London in 2017.

Entrepreneurs were originally known as 'Chiclets' and could initially stay for up to six months, receiving support and advice from mentors and enablers.[2][3] Entrepreneurial Spark works closely with nearby universities including Glasgow Caledonian University.[4] In 2014 Entrepreneurial Spark doubled their space and facilities to provide continued support to growing businesses and their teams.[5]


Entrepreneurial Spark was founded to support business start-ups in (and from) Scotland, through the development of entrepreneurial mindsets and behaviours. It was founded by Saltire Foundation fellow Jim Duffy and co-founder Brian McGuire,[6] who featured the set up in the BBC Two Scotland Documentary 'The Entrepreneurs'.[7] Businesses currently receiving support from Entrepreneurial Spark include Planitmoney Mo's Cookie Dough, Alphabet Babies, Flexiworkforce and Raptor Equipment[8] among others.


Entrepreneurial Spark is a not-for-profit social enterprise supported by business leaders including Lord William Haughey, Sir Tom Hunter,[9] and Ann Gloag OBE,[10] local councils including Glasgow City Council, East Ayrshire Council, and South Ayrshire Council as well as gaining backing from politicians including Alex Salmond[11] and Ed Miliband. The scheme has also secured a three-year sponsorship package with The Royal Bank of Scotland, including funds to send aspiring entrepreneurs to Babson College in the USA.[12]

Entrepreneurial Spark worked with the Scottish Government to develop the £1 Million EDGE fund for entrepreneurs in Scotland.[13][14]


  1. ^ "Entrepreneurial Spark scheme opens in Edinburgh". BBC News. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  2. ^ "We meet the bright sparks of Glasgow business". Evening Times. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  3. ^ "How our brightest young sparks are benefiting from Glasgow-based business accelerator". Evening Times. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  4. ^ "Entrepreneur visits GCU to light students' business spark". Glasgow Caledonian University. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  5. ^ "Entrepreneurial Spark to expand new business support services". Business Insider. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Luckiest Man in Scotland". Evening Times. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  7. ^ "One is the lonliest number". BBC. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  8. ^ "The Hatcheries". Entrepreneurial Spark. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  9. ^ "Sir Tom Hunter unveils second phase of plan to support entrepreneurs". The Herald. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  10. ^ "Entrepreneurial Spark scheme opens in Edinburgh". BBC. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  11. ^ "First Minister Alex Salmond's address to SNP Conference". SNP. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  12. ^ "US offer for start-ups". The Scotsman. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  13. ^ "New £1 million Scottish entrepreneurs fund launched". Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  14. ^ "'Dragons' Den' plan to give firms public cash". Retrieved 3 November 2012.