Entrepreneurial Spark 2015 Impact Report

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Impact Report



Impact Report 2015

OuR To inspire and enable positive social change through the action of Entrepreneuring速. Our mission is to encourage Entrepreneuring速 through the development of entrepreneurial mindsets and behaviours.

Hello! From a small start-up founded in Glasgow in 2011 to the established company it is today, Entrepreneurial Spark has evolved alongside its Chiclets. What has remained the same throughout the changes and expansion over the past four years is the heart of the business, the vision to inspire and enable social change through the action of Entrepreneuring®.

The business accelerator currently operates in nine locations across the UK; Ayrshire, Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester. An additional three Hatcheries in Cardiff, Milton Keynes and Newcastle will open in summer 2016, with a London Hatchery opening in 2017. Alongside the geographical expansion, Entrepreneurial Spark has also been able to support and develop to date 660 entrepreneurs across the country. With numerous success stories of Chiclets securing multi-million-pound investment deals, signing famous faces as brand ambassadors, and negotiating deals with high street retailers to stock their


Championing UK entrepreneurs


Entrepreneurial Spark Powered by NatWest is the world’s largest free business accelerator for start-up and scaleup businesses. products in hundreds of outlets across the country, the team at Entrepreneurial Spark are not only making a difference to the lives of these entrepreneurs but they are also making a positive change to the UK economy and business community. Entrepreneurial Spark doesn’t just help businesses to grow, it helps entrepreneurs to develop as individuals and as business men and women. With a focus on the people behind the ideas, the team of expert Enablers, mentors and business leaders will help the next generation of entrepreneurs to reach their potential and achieve their dreams. It’s not an easy ride. You need to be dedicated and live and breathe your business, but if you believe in your idea and are willing to put in the hard work, what’s stopping you from becoming the next Lord Haughey, Sir Tom Hunter or Dr Ann Gloag OBE? Do you have a great idea and the #GoDo attitude required to make it a reality? Don’t waste time thinking about ‘what if’, find your nearest Hatchery location and apply for the August intake online to see where your Entrepreneurial Spark journey will take you – visit entrepreneurial-spark.com.


Impact Report 2015

a word From Jim What a year! Absolutely phenomenal. When I sat down this time last year to pen a wee note for the Impact Report, I was incredibly excited… but nervous. Entrepreneurial Spark was shifting to the next stage of achieving a powerful, but hefty, vision – to inspire and enable positive social change through the action of Entrepreneuring®. Through our amazing partners at NatWest, we were embarking on the next stage of Entrepreneurial Spark, scaling our proven business accelerator model across the country and opening 13 UK Hatcheries covering every nation of the UK. How was this all going to work; how could I maintain the focus across all Hatcheries, whilst continuing to provide early stage entrepreneurs everything I had offered when I started solo in 2011? Well, today I sit here reflecting on 2015, the year just past. We’re now the voice championing entrepreneurs both here and, ever increasingly, across the globe – having exported Entrepreneuring® to India (more on that later...). With over 1,000 early stage entrepreneurs coming through our Hatcheries every calendar year, we have an amazing insight into the grassroots on investor readiness, entrepreneurial leadership, team building and everything else that goes with it. We’ve seen first hand the meaning of ‘entrepreneur’ change, previously bound by the stigma and machismo of shows like The Apprentice, to one which truly recognises exceptional hard work; insightful and smart thinking; ten year paths to success; and a commitment to always moving outside our comfort zones. I repeat, this isn’t an easy gig, but we’ve got startups and scaleups all across the UK making leaps and bounds every single day in our Hatcheries. It’s just wonderful to watch. The reality is we’re living this journey alongside these entrepreneurs, I’m growing my team and we feel the day to day pressures, strains and challenges too – we’re going through it with them. It’s a bumpy ride, but the most fulfilling one there is.

Championing UK entrepreneurs


Fundamental to the way Entrepreneurial Spark works is the focus on positive social change. With our partners, we’re breeding a new type of entrepreneur, one that is humble and gives back. This could not have been achieved without the unwavering support of our partners across the UK. Our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence believed in us as we grew and have been a counsel to me as I developed Entrepreneurial Spark. Likewise, the local authorities, such as East Ayrshire Council, should be applauded for recognising the enterprising potential in their cities, town and villages, and backing them to #GoDo. Last year, we proudly brought the world class team from KPMG on board as partners, giving our Chiclets expert guidance on investment and ensuring they know their numbers. I can’t thank enough all of those fantastic mentors who sit on our Piranha Pits and Temp Checks with Chiclets – undoubtedly their 12th man. My wholehearted and humble thanks to everyone who has made this success possible. We’ve now Hatcheries from Brighton to Ayrshire, Birmingham to Belfast and, by this time next year, Cardiff to London. In a landmark move, we’re now at the heart of the RBS’s global HQ at Gogarburn in Edinburgh – a state of the art, purpose built facility. It’s an amazing Hatchery and testament to the bank’s commitment to entrepreneurs – they should be roundly applauded for this boldness. We never stop though. I’m as ambitious and hungry as ever. As we move to the next stage of championing entrepreneurs, the lifeblood of the economy, we will always retain our focus solely on them. Entrepreneurial Spark Powered by NatWest is the world’s largest free accelerator for start-up and scaleup businesses… and we’re just getting started – jump aboard! To all those mentors, supporters, partners, investors, thank you for everything you do in working towards this collective vision. Jim Duffy, Chief Executive Optimist, Entrepreneurial Spark @GoDo_Today

We’re going through it with them. It’s a bumpy ride, but the most fulfilling one there is.



Impact Report 2015

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Making the headlines in 2015

Leading business accelerator continues entrepreneurial revolution across the UK and India In its first expansion beyond its native UK, Entrepreneurial Spark has opened a string of centres across India to support a growing culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. The Indian accelerator programme, a joint venture with Viridian, will be known as Entrepreneurial Spark – Powered by Viridian. The expansion has seen Entrepreneurial Spark’s groundbreaking offer of office space and support rolled out to a much larger pool of potential entrepreneurs and has the capacity to have a huge positive social and economic effect. The business accelerator has also seen incredible growth in the UK, opening Hatcheries in Brighton, Leeds, Bristol, Belfast and Manchester over recent months, with an additional four Hatcheries opening by 2017.

Celebrity Chiclets secure deal to sell pants in 122 Boots stores across the UK Entrepreneurial Spark Chiclet DiaryDoll, the underwear firm headed by Carol Smillie and tennis player Annabel Croft, celebrated an exciting milestone in January as it launched its women’s pants in 122 Boots stores across the country. The duo, who have been building the business from their base in the Glasgow Hatchery, created the brand in 2012 after chatting while on holiday. The pants have a secret waterproof

panel ‘for extra protection against life’s little leaks’ and were originally aimed at teenagers and women with heavy periods, but they have attracted a varied customer base. DiaryDoll is also stocked in Debenhams stores, Alliance Healthcare Pharmacies and are sold on QVC – which was a major breakthrough for the business.

Revolutionising Edinburgh’s tech start-up scene Entrepreneurial Spark welcomed Edinburgh’s tech start-up scene to their new Edinburgh Hatchery at RBS Headquarters, Gogarburn in February 2016. Entrepreneurs from the new February intake will join existing Chiclets in setting up shop in the former ‘executive wing’ at RBS, which is being transformed into a hub for entrepreneurs and innovation, named the Entrepreneurial Centre. Small businesses from all sectors are being given the opportunity to collaborate and work with fellow entrepreneurs and RBS employees. The Entrepreneurial Centre also significantly houses RBS’ technology solutions centre, giving startups in the tech industry an opportunity to gain expert advice and world class mentoring from specialists with years of experience. With successful worldwide tech businesses such as FanDuel and Skyscanner choosing Edinburgh as their UK headquarters, the new Hatchery will give tech entrepreneurs the expert enablement and support they need in order to grow and scale their business in what is a hugely competitive space.

Entrepreneur builds million-pound business in three months An Entrepreneurial Spark Birmingham entrepreneur has raised £150,000 for his technology business just three months after starting out, in a deal valuing the mobile point of sale firm at £1 million. Lee Nazari took out a personal loan to set up Mobile Pay Systems, investing in a team of five developers to design a payment system linked to a mobile app. Since joining the Entrepreneurial Spark programme in Birmingham and securing his investment, he has employed three sales staff and secured a trial of his systems in 20 outlets throughout the city.

Championing UK entrepreneurs


The Swoope App for users works in tandem with his Swoopos till system for merchants, allowing pre-ordering of goods on a click and collect basis, from shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels, as well as payment directly from mobile phones. The £150,000 funding, from a private equity investor, will allow the firm to finish testing its product before fully launching it to the wider market.

Elite Scalerator® programme to help startups scale their business set to launch With Scotland being home to just two Unicorns – startups that have reached a value of at least $1billion – business accelerator Entrepreneurial Spark has recognised the need for scaleup here and across the UK by announcing Scalerator®. Later this year will see the launch of The Scalerator®, an elite programme which aims to prepare high impact entrepreneurs and growth businesses with the mindset of scaling their enterprise. Despite a high number of entrepreneurs in the UK growing innovative businesses to the £1m turnover mark, many lack the skills and experience needed to scale to £10m. Entrepreneurial Spark is currently framing up Scalerator in the first few months of 2016, liasing with universities, investors, angel syndicates, venture capitalists, family businesses, KPMG, RBS and a wide range of partners in the UK ecosystem.

1. Carol Smillie, co-founder, DiaryDoll 2. Signing of MoU between Viridian Group and Entrepreneurial Spark; left to right Mr. Jim Duffy, Hemin Bharucha, Murali Hariharan 3. Double on Dragons’ Den 4. Lee Nazari, founder of Mobile Pay Systems

Entrepreneurial Spark Chiclet Double wins big on Dragon’s Den The founders of a ‘double dating’ app that has been hailed as the next Tinder have sealed their own double deal, after a timely appearance on Dragons’ Den brought two top tech investors on board. Dragon Nick Jenkins, who is behind Moonpig, and Bebo founder Michael Birch, are investing tens of thousands of pounds to push the already popular app Double – which enables shy singles to ‘double up’ with a friend and take on the dating scene together – on to international success. The start-up, which recently joined the Entrepreneurial Spark programme in Edinburgh, has grown significantly since filming the TV programme. It has more than doubled its user base, having brought its tech team in-house in Edinburgh, where it is developing a version of the app for Android.

1 3

2 4


Impact Report 2015

A word from our Entrepreneurs-in-residence “I have loved my monthly visits to the Edinburgh Hatchery over the last year and really enjoyed spending time with the Chiclets and sharing whatever advice I can. Starting and growing a business is the toughest occupation so I am only too happy to use my experience to help guide the next generation of entrepreneurs at the Hatchery. Some of the businesses have the potential to be really successful and with dedication and hard work, as well as the support they need from Entrepreneurial Spark, I am sure they will flourish.” Dr Ann Gloag OBE

“It has been over four years since I agreed with Jim Duffy that the first Entrepreneurial Spark Hatchery could be based in our Headquarters at Caledonia House. We are very proud that it all started here. Over this period it has been a pleasure to guide and mentor many of the Chiclets that have passed through the Hatchery, it has been refreshing to deal with so many start-up businesses that have been so determined to succeed. There has been so many occasions when helping them deal with some of their problems, that I have had flash backs to my earlier experiences. When we set off on this journey, no one could have imagined the impact that the Entrepreneurial Spark initiative would have on Scotland’s business successes. To Jim Duffy and to all the members of his team at Entrepreneurial Spark, congratulations and keep up the great work.” Lord Haughey OBE, Executive Chairman City Refrigeration Holdings (UK) Ltd

“Entrepreneurial Spark fulfils an exceptional and exciting role in nurturing startups with real growth opportunities through the hardest part of business creation... With a business survival rate of 88% I’ve yet to find an incubator around the globe with better survival statistics. We now need to cultivate the real scaleups coming out of Entrepreneurial Spark and drastically increase support for them.” Sir Tom Hunter, Entrepreneur and philanthropist

Championing UK entrepreneurs

“I am delighted to see that the partnership between the Royal Bank of Scotland and Entrepreneurial Spark is working so effectively. The figures in the Impact Report are impressive and the Royal Bank and Entrepreneurial Spark should be very pleased with the difference they are making to the Scottish economy by encouraging investment in these businesses and creating jobs. The fact that a new Entrepreneurial Centre is being created in RBS’s HQ in Edinburgh can only enhance this success.” Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister for Scotland

A word from around the UK

“The work that Entrepreneurial Spark is doing to help entrepreneurs across the UK is fantastic and the results are impressive. The support provided by RBS is really valued by everyone involved.” The Rt Hon David Mundell MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, UK Government

“A healthy and dynamic business environment enables entrepreneurs to properly test their business ideas, and provides the springboard for learning and innovation. We welcome the arrival of Entrepreneurial Spark’s Hatchery, Powered by Ulster Bank, in Belfast and the opportunity it provides for those who dare to dream big for their business and are prepared to be stretched in pursuit of that dream. Entrepreneurial Spark’s record speaks for itself and we look forward to following the success stories of the Belfast Hatchery.” Arlene Foster MLA, First Minister for Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness MLA, Deputy First Minister for Northern Ireland



Impact Report 2015




Some entrepreneurs give us their three word thoughts...


Impact Report 2015

Top 10 qualities of a successful entrepreneur No two entrepreneurs are ever the same, but there are a number of key attributes which can help pave the pathway to success. So what does a successful entrepreneur look like?

Championing UK entrepreneurs



A good entrepreneur is constantly curious, as the marketplace is always changing, with new innovations and businesses popping up.

oping f devel o im a e tially with th , poten e l b a l a s. a sc usines b , l a b gl o

Comfortable with being e uncomfortabl

g a business and growin g in rt a st f o ccessful A lot es, and a su c n e ri e p x e fortable is new s to be com d e e n r u e n entrepre and vision to h their idea it w h g u o n e s and make by the horn ll u b e th b gra ssion. a good impre

N E T S I L O T WILLING icism, nd crit a k c a b rd and t o f eed on boa is h t e ly. t ak ording c c a t s adju


NG I L L E S Y STANTL ust be

sm hing neur e r p d pitc ow e n r a t g n E sellin er kn antly s, you nev be a t s n o c es to busin turn out vestor. t their h g r i o in who m customer tial poten

ABILITY TO FOCUS not only on the da ily tasks but also the over arching goals for the busi ness.

100%mdaekinDgicthateIon to

busineSs work

JUST DO it! A star t-up will ne ver be successful withou t the right #GoDo mindset – why wait around contempl ating doing something when you can go and do it?

be constantly aware

A business isn’t st atic, it’s always adapting to reflect what the custom er wants, so a good entrep reneur must bear this in mind and be constantly aw are and monitoring their business.

Opportu Hungrynity

and al wa ma xim ys looking a t ise int roduc how to build t i o a rele vant n ns and etwor k.



Impact Report 2015

As we enable entrepreneurs across the UK, we’re proud as punch with the impact they’re having.

Championing UK entrepreneurs



Impact Report 2015

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS! (of uk entrepreneurs) 520









£15,676,000 £41,154,262






£8,047,000 £18,035,920






2014 2015

280 352 660

Championing UK entrepreneurs








38 50/50


All data is collected and analysed as provided by participating Chiclets.



Impact Report 2015

HATCHERY STATS Ayrshire has the highest average Chiclet age of all the Hatcheries at 40 years old...

Cumulative turnover in the Edinburgh Hatchery exceeds ÂŁ6.6 million.

Glasgow Chiclets have secured over ÂŁ2.2million investment in the last 12 months.

We have the most female Chiclets in Leeds of all our UK Hatcheries, with 57% of the intake being women.

...and Birmingham has the youngest average Chiclet age, at 35 years old.

Bristol Chiclets have created 127 jobs in the first six months. Brighton has the highest percentage of food and drink companies, making up almost a third of businesses in the Hatchery.

Championing UK entrepreneurs

We’re humbled by our 2015 NPS score,



which puts Entrepreneurial Spark above the likes of Apple, Amazon and Netflix – not bad company to keep!

Net Promoter Score is used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships. Customers are asked: “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend Entrepreneurial Spark to another early stage start-up?”


Impact Report 2015

Highlights From 2015 Another roller coaster 12 months of #GoDo! We’ve been beating the Entrepreneuring drum across the globe, enabling our Chiclets to be backable, credible and investible. Take a look at our 2015…

FEBRUARY: Trade and Investment Minister Lord Livingston visits the Glasgow Hatchery

MARCH: Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces Entrepreneurial Spark will move into its new Edinburgh home at RBS’ Gogarburn HQ in February 2016

APRIL: Announcement of the KPMG partnership

JUNE: Jim Duffy and Lucy-Rose Walker visit India to launch Entrepreneurial Spark Powered by Viridian with Hemin Bharucha, SDI

AUGUST: Chiclets at the Scotland #GoDoBootcamp

MAY: Entrepreneurial Spark is named the most active accelerator in Europe

JUNE: Jim Duffy addresses the audience at Tedx Glasgow

AUGUST: Entrepreneurs in Yorkshire celebrate the launch of the Leeds Hatchery

Championing UK entrepreneurs

# M yG oD o2 0

15 #MyGoDo20

AUGUST: George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, opens the Bristol Hatchery

AUGUST: Ross McEwan addresses the audience at the launch of the Brighton Hatchery


Share your 2015 highlights with us @ESparkGlobal

SEPTEMBER: Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn MP visits the Entrepreneurial Spark Brighton Hatchery

OCTOBER: Chiclets attend the Conservative and Labour Party Conferences alongside Entrepreneurial Spark

DECEMBER: Entrepreneurial Spark and Royal Bank of Scotland win award for Innovation in supporting business or enterprise at the BBA-IFS FIA awards

OCTOBER: Entrepreneurial Spark and Royal Bank of Scotland win the Scottish Financial Services Award 2015

OCTOBER: Entrepreneurs celebrate winning over ÂŁ65,000 at the Entrepreneuring Awards

OCTOBER: Lady Michelle Mone visits the Glasgow Hatchery as part of a national entrepreneurship review


Impact Report 2015

A word from our partners I am delighted to see the partnership between NatWest and Entrepreneurial Spark is proving to be such a success. The Impact Report clearly shows the support the bank is providing is not only making a difference – it is making a big difference.

Alison Rose, CEO of NatWest Commercial and Private Banking

I am regularly told by entrepreneurs the main barriers to setting up a business are fear and a lack of local support. This is borne out in the NatWest Entrepreneurship Monitor which shows a large number of people want to set up a business but are put off by concerns over money or they don’t know where to turn for advice. Entrepreneurial Spark Powered by NatWest really addresses these worries. The bank provides the ingredients (free facilities, free wi-fi, access to our networks and third party suppliers and free business advice) and Entrepreneurial Spark adds Jim Duffy’s ‘secret sauce’ for success and the mixture clearly works. The bank is determined to do all it can to grow the economy. We are the number one bank for supporting business in the UK and working with organisations like Entrepreneurial Spark will just add to that. The partnership helps us support and grow businesses and because we are working so closely with entrepreneurs in our own buildings, it also helps us understand how we can serve our customers better and it helps develop our staff. Nowhere is this more apparent than in our HQ in Edinburgh. We have literally knocked down walls right at the heart of the bank, to house not just Entrepreneurial Spark but all the support agencies that entrepreneurs need to survive and thrive. Funding agencies are moving in, networking groups and advice organisations will also be there. And all this will be right next door to our new Technology Solutions Centre which the entrepreneurs will have access to and where they will be able to work with our people to develop their products and advise us on what we should be providing customers to stay ahead of the field. No other bank is showing this sort of commitment to entrepreneurs in the UK. I am delighted the Impact Report shows the partnership is working and I look forward to seeing next year’s report once we have opened even more Hatcheries and are supporting even more entrepreneurs across the UK.

Championing UK entrepreneurs

It’s almost a year since we at KPMG announced that we were joining forces with NatWest to support Entrepreneurial Spark in its mission to inspire and enable entrepreneurs and fledgling businesses up and down the UK to grow and flourish. And what a year it has been.

“We have literally knocked down walls right at the heart of the bank, to house not just Entrepreneurial Spark but all the support agencies that entrepreneurs need to survive and thrive.”

It’s no exaggeration to say that our journey with Entrepreneurial Spark has so far exceeded every expectation. We have been blown away by the exceptional quality, drive and determination shown by each and every one of the entrepreneurs with whom we have worked. And we have also been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm from our own people to become involved. Or as Jim Duffy would say, to #GoDo. Mentors from across KPMG have already provided more than 4,000 hours of strategic support to Entrepreneurial Spark’s network of Chiclets, acting as that vital sounding board and helping them to drive forward their growth plans – and this number will only increase further as new Hatcheries are launched over the coming months. Highlights include providing cash flow forecasting support to Nutrifiz following its landmark contract win with Asda; helping Findra prepare for investor readiness which ultimately helped it secure funding of £75k from Scottish Edge; and working closely with Spearhead


Compliance Training to help it secure vital investment for growth. And the beauty of our relationship with Entrepreneurial Spark is that the drive for continual development of entrepreneurial mindsets and behaviours is not limited to those entrepreneurs who have embarked on the programme. There is so much that we at KPMG are gaining and learning from working with these talented and inspiring people. Not only has it already prompted more creative and innovative thinking across our own firm, it has also given our people a much greater appreciation of the challenges and pitfalls of building, running and growing a business. All of this means our enthusiasm and support for Entrepreneurial Spark continues to bloom, and we are tremendously excited at the prospect of what lies ahead in 2016 and beyond. From the launch of new Hatcheries across the UK and in Northern Ireland, to the expansion of the accelerator programme, we look forward to working closely with Jim and his team, and with NatWest as together we #GoDo. Iain Moffatt Head of National Markets, KPMG


Impact Report 2015

Aadam Patel, Founder of Halal Celebrations, Brighton: “The Entrepreneurial Spark model should be replicated across the UK, with government funding to make this achievable. Let’s be honest, the government would make a good return very quickly through business tax revenues anyway.” Al Start, Creative Director, Go Kid Music, Brighton: “The government needs to re-address the education system in order to prepare young students with an entrepreneurial mindset and way of working. I also believe they should provide programmes like Entrepreneurial Spark, and remember that the most successful entrepreneurs are in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s so age restrictions on support and training should be removed.” Alex Feechan, Founder of FINDRA, Edinburgh: “The government have many benefits to support people out of work or who are looking for work, but what about entrepreneurs who are often working long hours seven days a week making many sacrifices? We do it because we believe in our dream, we want it to happen, we are motivated and we know that one day we will make an active contribution to the economy. Maybe the government could look at introducing an entrepreneurs benefit scheme which would give us some sort of salary buffer whilst we build our business.” Anwar Almojarkesh, Founder of Braci Ltd., Birmingham: “I think the government should create a secure fund for startups, in order to allow them to start building their business ideas and making them a reality.” Barry Gear, Founder of Markup Digital Limited, Ayrshire: “One thing the government needs to invest in is the availability of fast broadband. Being a tech business we rely on a fast broadband connection to do business, however we are now in our third office and have struggled with slow connections in each. ” Claire Stone, Founder of Claire Stone Nutrition, Bristol: “The government could make it so much easier for entrepreneurs by helping clarify the situation around VAT on digital products. It’s a huge growth area, and the changes to EU last year have made it much harder for so many entrepreneurs to get started, as it’s so unclear and potentially risky.”

How can the Government support entrepreneurs?

Championing UK entrepreneurs

Garry Conroy, Co-founder of 5 Squirrels Ltd., Brighton: “The government should prioritise start-up businesses as the future engine of growth for our economy. They should have a tapered taxation policy for startups and provide some initial support for new employees, as well as supporting entrepreneurs in the early years with premises.” Helena Hills, Co-founder of TrueStart Performance Coffee, Bristol: “The government should look at changing the law on payment terms for startups. It’s a well-known fact that running out of cash is one of the main reasons startups fail, particularly in the FMCG world. There is next to no support when it comes to protecting us from the 90-day payment terms pushed onto smaller companies by the large retailers.” Jayde Lewis, Founder or Home to Home Calls, Birmingham: “The government supporting accelerator programs such as Entrepreneurial Spark and giving them the credit they deserve would make a big difference, as they are people with credible ideas who often just need that push of support to get their business off the ground.” John Bellingham, Co-founder, Xebo, Ayrshire: “The government should provide more support to small businesses through mentorship programs. The government needs to change its perceived reputation and stop being an entity that is feared or avoided by many people, instead evolving into a support mechanism for small businesses. They could also incentivise the growth of small businesses through a reduction in taxation for the early years.” Lee Nazari, Founder of Mobile Pay Systems, Birmingham: “By creating entrepreneur colleges and making them free I think the government could really help startups. This would create an environment where people of all ages, who have the drive and a business idea, could go and cultivate their business without committing to a full year lease, spending large amounts of money. It would result in a safe place for entrepreneurs to fail and an even better place to succeed.”


Mel Bound, Founder and Managing Director, This Mum Runs, Bristol: “It would be brilliant to see more government support at a local level that makes it possible to access good quality business mentors and advisors – rather than what seem to be consultants providing very basic services and then trying to peddle other services to you.” Melanie Blane, Director, White Rabbit Skincare, Ayrshire: “The government should make the formation of entrepreneurial activity a priority, with the active involvement of Government Ministers to shape and empower policies and programmes.” Neil Clark, CEO, Integrated Human Factors (IHF) Ltd., Edinburgh: “One of the great things about the Hatchery is that every time I go to get a coffee or stop for a chat I hear a little nugget about funding available here, support available there. If I was not lucky enough to be a part of Entrepreneurial Spark, I would never hear of these things. So, in my opinion, if the government were to do anything it would be to communicate what is available by way of support more effectively.” Rachel McMillan, Director, Rachel McMillan Ltd., Glasgow: “I would like to see more support for the fashion and textiles industry, in particular in terms of grants and funding. Textiles and manufacturing are dying trades in the UK compared to 50 years ago. Small businesses that are creating jobs and supporting local and ethical manufacturing could be given more financial support for sustaining this industry and supporting the economy.” Stephen Faulkner, Managing Director, Waste Heat Recovery Limited – WHRL, Ayrshire: “The government needs to make the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme more workable. Currently they only provide 75% cover to the banks, and so the banks go ‘belt and braces’ and ask for 100% joint and several director guarantees in addition to this. The government needs to encourage the banks to be more reasonable in their attitude to a potential 25% risk.”


Impact Report 2015


Meet Chiclets... of putting d on the principle de un fo as w k ar we do. Entrepreneurial Sp ntre of everything ce e th at t, le ic Ch time. the entrepreneur, or an incredibly fast-paced and exciting en nning As ever, 2015 has be stment deals, to building teams and wi ve From securing big in our Chiclets continue to inspire and s, nt ie cl w ne cracking l. al us energise en up to‌ our Chiclets have be at wh of ad re a ve Ha



Championing UK entrepreneurs


The Chiclets...

Name: Dr. Cemal Kavasogullari Title: Director Company: Innovative Healthcare Solutions (IHS) Ltd Hatchery: Glasgow IHS is a dynamic, young company whose mission is to utilise cutting edge technology to improve healthcare-user interface. We are currently working on a dental health solution that will enable people to monitor their oral health in the comfort of their home, using a smart hand-held scanner. @c_kavasogullari

What encouraged you to join Entrepreneurial Spark’s business accelerator programme? After we established our company, it quickly became apparent that investors liked companies that had been ‘through some hoops’ before even talking to them. They didn’t like ‘virgin material’ as it were, so we decided to join an accelerator programme. Entrepreneurial Spark was free, providing everything we needed and was very close to our base in Glasgow. The staggering success of over 80% of businesses who went through the programme still trading was an important factor for us in our decision.

The main difference I found from other accelerators is the fact that Entrepreneurial Spark does this via leading by example. People in Entrepreneurial Spark show the characteristics of good entrepreneurs themselves. All of this enabled me to think about what sort of leader I would like to be.

Since joining Entrepreneurial Spark how have you seen your business change? During the first six months we invested internally, using this period to understand the mechanics of the sector we see ourselves in. A significant effort was also made in building a world class team and establishing connections. Overall, we became a much better structured affair than we were before.

3. If you’re working on something disruptive, don’t always listen to ‘experts in the industry’. They come from the culture you’re trying to change.

We have since obtained a Scottish Enterprise SMARTGrant, won $100,000 in an international start-up competition, the Wolves Summit in Warsaw, and we were finalists in Young Edge and the Duke of York’s Pitch@Palace competition. As an entrepreneur how have you changed since joining Entrepreneurial Spark? One of the things Entrepreneurial Spark focuses on is the entrepreneurial leader.

If you could give budding entrepreneurs three tips what would they be? 1. Know your pitch! 2. There will be times that you feel you are not progressing, step back and ask a mentor. They have a different perspective which can help you change your course.

Looking to the year ahead what are you hoping to achieve? The year ahead will be all about developing, refining and perfecting our product. Of course there are competitions lined-up already, and we’re hoping to establish a massive academic partnership with one of the top institutions in the world. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from your mentor? Fail quickly, fail cheaply and know your numbers!


Impact Report 2015

The Chiclets...

Name: Siobhan Mackenzie Title: Managing Director Company: Siobhan Mackenzie Limited Hatchery: Glasgow Bespoke & Contemporary Kilts – Bringing Scottish Dress into the 21st century by breaking the rules of tradition with innovation within design and manufacture. @bespokekilts

What encouraged you to join Entrepreneurial Spark’s business accelerator programme? I was fresh out of education where I studied a BA Honours degree in Fashion Design and Production and had briefly covered entrepreneurship, but I felt I lacked the confidence and knowledge to run a successful business, and didn’t know where to start in terms of reaching the huge goals I had set myself. Since joining Entrepreneurial Spark how have you seen your business change? The brand is selling internationally now and I have a much clearer identification of my customer profiles and target markets. I have gained valuable contacts, opportunities, mentors and business Enablers to help me grow the business. As an entrepreneur how have you changed since joining Entrepreneurial Spark? I have seen my confidence as an entrepreneurial leader improve dramatically – I am confident in concisely pitching my business and grabbing all opportunities with both hands.



If you could give budding entrepreneurs three tips what would they be? 1. Build a trusted network of people you can seek advice and mentoring from. 2. Be resilient and willing to take constructive criticism and feedback as it is given to you to aid and improve your business. 3. Be prepared to work hard and really believe and have confidence in your business. Looking to the year ahead what are you hoping to achieve? I plan to increase sales in my international audiences as I am going to develop an interactive ‘create your own’ section on my website. This will allow access to the brand anywhere in the world without the time intensity of requiring a designer. I also plan to take the brand to New York Tartan Week which is a huge market for me. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from your mentor? My Entrepreneurial Spark Enabler gave me the advice of querying each action I take by asking myself “does it aid or improve my business”. This helps me to filter out things that may be a waste of time versus what is a good use of time. How would you describe Entrepreneurial Spark? An amazing invaluable opportunity.

Championing UK entrepreneurs

Name: Barry Gear Title: Co-Founder / Director Company: Markup Digital Limited Hatchery: Ayrshire Founded in early 2012, Markup set out to develop an eCommerce software platform tailored to the needs of fashion retailers. We were lucky enough to have a client before we had a product, meaning that in the first year it was all about building the product to allow for our first website launch. @tartangear

What encouraged you to join Entrepreneurial Spark’s business accelerator programme? We started the business in February of 2012 and after a couple of months of working out of my garage it was clear that we needed some support, both practically and in terms of business skills. At the same time, I read an article in the local paper about Entrepreneurial Spark opening a new facility in Ayrshire. The timing was perfect. We promptly applied and were lucky enough to be accepted on the first intake. Since joining Entrepreneurial Spark how have you seen your business change? I’ve seen a lot of change in the business since joining Entrepreneurial Spark, we have grown in every area. For example, we have embedded repeatable processes which allow us to manage the business day to day. This was a big change from the early days when things we did were mainly ad-hoc and reactive. We’ve separated the team into Client Services and Platform Development which allows us to have more focus on serving our existing clients and continuing product development. We have also built on our initial values, especially around people in the business, to encourage a flexible fun culture. As an entrepreneur how have you changed since joining Entrepreneurial Spark? I’ve certainly grown in confidence as I practice the skills of business leadership. I see this as a continual


learning process, mainly, I recognise that a successful business is all about the people within the business. I have also recognised that as an entrepreneur in a new company you need to wear many hats and, from experience, this can very quickly become overwhelming. You need to learn to delegate as you simply can’t (and shouldn’t) try to be involved in everything. Looking to the year ahead what are you hoping to achieve? This year we’ve set out an ambition roadmap for the product which will allow us to start scaling our client base. This will be our main objective however at the same time we need to make sure that we serve our current clients with the same quality they expect. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from your mentor? The best advice I received was the concept of defining your end goal. This may seem obvious but it wasn’t something I initially thought about. Defining your end goal helps you build your vision and stay motivated. If you were to describe Entrepreneurial Spark in three words, what would they be? Inspiring, practical, hard-working.


Impact Report 2015

The Chiclets... Name: Melanie Blane Title: Director Company: White Rabbit Skincare Hatchery: Ayrshire White Rabbit Skincare is a luxury, cruelty free skincare brand, made with some of the finest plant based ingredients that nature can offer. Our products stand out as 100% vegan and handmade, and the 10-product range includes Chocolate Orange Lipbalm and Orange and Avocado Serum. @WhiteRabbitSC

What encouraged you to join Entrepreneurial Spark’s business accelerator programme? I needed help to take my company – which was essentially a ‘hobby’ – to the next level, and the fact that there are so many resources, mentors and opportunities available to entrepreneurs for FREE, it was just too good a chance to pass up! Since joining Entrepreneurial Spark how have you seen your business change? White Rabbit Skincare has changed from a little sideline, in which I made my products in my flat kitchen and printed off labels from Microsoft Word, to a fully validated, respected company which went through an entire sleek rebrand and website launch. As an entrepreneur how have you changed since joining Entrepreneurial Spark? Massively! My confidence has grown (I now volunteer myself to pitch at every opportunity, rather than hiding in the back, for example!), I’m more open to change, and I’m definitely more focused and certain on what I want, and when – beforehand I was a tad scatty! If you could give budding entrepreneurs three tips what would they be? 1. Push yourself out your comfort zone. ‘Get comfortable with being uncomfortable’ as the Entrepreneurial Spark saying goes!

2. Never be afraid of setting huge and ‘unrealistic’ goals. Think stratospheric! Thoughts become things. 3. Take every opportunity that comes your way. Making big choices is scary, but regret is even scarier! Looking to the year ahead what are you hoping to achieve? We are currently applying for the official Vegan and Leaping Bunny (BUAV) logos for our products, and hope to be stocked in major UK retailers, as well as selling online. We would also like to increase our international reach, and have the White Rabbit Skincare brand known globally. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from your mentor? Very simply, to have belief; both in myself and my business. Because if I don’t, how can I expect others to?! My Enabler Frank has been a real backbone and sounding board to me – I don’t know what I’d do without him!

“ White changedRabbit Skincare in which from a little sidehas in my fla I made my prod line, tk uc off labelsitchen and printets Word, to from Microsoft d respecte a fully validated went thr d company wh , rebrand ough an entire s ich and web le site laun ek ch.”

Championing UK entrepreneurs

Name: Kieran Kelly Title: Chief Executive Officer Company: arc-net Hatchery: Edinburgh arc-net is a unique cloud based data company that supports product and brand security and authenticity whilst securing the supply chain through data analytics using Blockchain technology. @arcnetni

What encouraged you to join Entrepreneurial Spark’s business accelerator programme? As a new business, the advice and support offered by Entrepreneurial Spark’s mentors was something that was highly enticing. The team in Entrepreneurial Spark Edinburgh (Gill, Anne, Ken and Katie) have been fantastic in providing advice, guidance and mentorship. They have helped us to create a shared vision for the future and continue to push us mentally and commercially. Since joining Entrepreneurial Spark how have you seen your business change? Since joining Entrepreneurial Spark our business has accelerated exponentially. Thanks to the advice from the team in Entrepreneurial Spark, we have been exposed to a number of organisation that are in a position to provide either funding or access to funding. arc-net secured its first seed investment three weeks after joining Entrepreneurial Spark in Edinburgh. Thanks to this investment the team were able to establish its first Minimal Viable Product (MVP) which has helped the business to showcase its capability and solution offering. As an entrepreneur how have you changed since joining Entrepreneurial Spark? Since joining Entrepreneurial Spark, I have become more focused and willing to listen more and speak less. The Entrepreneurial Spark team have helped me cut through the fog of business and get to the point quicker, faster and more efficiently.


If you could give budding entrepreneurs three tips what would they be? 1. Listen more, talk less. 2. Fail fast. 3. Don’t be afraid to try. Looking to the year ahead what are you hoping to achieve? We are seeking to officially launch the company at a local, national and global stage. It is our intention to be disruptive and create a shift in the market. As we progress we also have a mission to bring up those behind us who have either helped, or contributed to, our success. It is essential to give back. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from your mentor? Talk less and listen more.



Impact Report 2015

The Chiclets... What encouraged you to join Entrepreneurial Spark’s business accelerator programme? I first heard about Entrepreneurial Spark though a fellow entrepreneur who was already on the programme and spoke very highly of it. What I discovered was a really refreshing and new approach to supporting start-up businesses. I liked the idea of being challenged, and really delving into my business to find out if I could take my idea and turn it into a real, sustainable business. Since joining Entrepreneurial Spark how have you seen your business change? I wouldn’t say my business has changed since joining Entrepreneurial Spark, I would say it has evolved, flourished and become a reality. When I joined I had an idea, but taking that idea and making it actually happen was a big task.


Being part of Entrepreneurial Spark meant I had the opportunity to meet with my Enabler once a week. This helped me have a very clear staged process of targets and tasks to work through. Knowing I had to feedback weekly to my Enabler also meant I was always accountable for the progress I was making. This was invaluable to me and I really don’t think my business would be quite where it is today had I not had that structured help and support. Entrepreneurial Spark has enabled me to lay a solid foundation on which my business can really grow and scale. Looking to the year ahead what are you hoping to achieve? 2016 is all about growth for FINDRA. We had a fantastic launch year in 2015 and I want to build on this momentum. We start the year actively looking for investment to build on our Scottish Edge win. We also have plans to introduce new product ranges and in AW16 we will introduce a menswear range. Fundamental to this growth is the team. In 2016 we hope to grow from a team of 1.5 to 4. This will enable us to really take FINDRA forward and progress on our journey of creating a global brand. If you were to describe Entrepreneurial Spark in three words, what would they be? Challenging, proactive, inspiring.

Name: Alex Feechan Title: Founder / CEO Company: FINDRA Hatchery: Edinburgh FINDRA is a fashion led performance driven bike-wear and outdoor apparel brand. FINDRA brings to the market a stylish functional award winning range of performance clothing. The core collection is made in Scotland using innovative technology to produce lightweight technical seamless Merino garments. FINDRA fuses fashion and performance wear in a new and dynamic way. @LiveLoveFindra

Championing UK entrepreneurs

Name: Anwar Almojarkesh Title: CEO & Founder Company: Braci Ltd. Hatchery: Birmingham Unique algorithm for smartphones, which detects a wide range of sounds such as smoke alarms, doorbells, babies crying, car horns and more. The app is connected with the Pebble Watch and Android Wear to get better alerts. @BraciInc

What encouraged you to join Entrepreneurial Spark’s business accelerator programme? Growing our business in a great environment with other startups, and sharing our experience with Entrepreneurial Spark mentors and Enablers. Since joining Entrepreneurial Spark how have you seen your business change? I’ve seen Braci change a lot since joining Entrepreneurial Spark. All of the team can confirm that we moved forward since we have joined the programme. As an entrepreneur how have you changed since joining Entrepreneurial Spark? I have greatly improved my general business thinking and thought processes – as well as becoming much more active in networking and talking ideas. If you could give budding entrepreneurs three tips what would they be? 1. Listening to the right advice is incredibly valuable to your business and your life. 2. One of the most exciting parts of being an entrepreneur is the thrill and exhilaration you get from seeing if something works. 3. Networking up can afford you mentorship opportunities, help strengthen your network and help you learn from people who have the success you desire.


Looking to the year ahead what are you hoping to achieve? We’re hoping to secure investment and increase our traction during 2016. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from your mentor? Don’t listen to every little piece of advice you’re given. Take everything you’re told with a pinch of salt, and learn how to trust your gut. How would you describe Entrepreneurial Spark? Amazing environment to grow any business.


Take everything with a PINCH of salt yo learn how to trust

ur gut


Impact Report 2015

The Chiclets... Name: John Loveday Title: CEO Company: Spearhead Compliance Training Hatchery: Birmingham Spearhead is a multi-award winning Training Provider that delivers the UK’s leading online and practical training courses. Our client portfolio ranges from individuals to some of the UK’s largest organisations. @spearheadtrg

Since joining Entrepreneurial Spark how have you seen your business change? Our business has clearly changed but the key thing that has changed is us as entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial Spark is a people accelerator, which in turn enabled us to accelerate our business. The business has seen rapid growth since joining Entrepreneurial Spark, we have secured multi million pound contracts with some of the UK’s largest companies. The guidance, intense preparation and support enabled us to win those contracts and also investment.

3. Surround yourself with a good team of mentors and advisors that can help you grow as an entrepreneur. You can’t soar like an eagle if you’re surrounded by pigeons.

As an entrepreneur how have you changed since joining Entrepreneurial Spark? When we first arrived at Entrepreneurial Spark we were trainers trying to run a training business. Now we are business men running a promising and successful training company. Entrepreneurial Spark has enabled us to work ‘on’ our business as opposed to ‘in’ our business.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from your mentor? Don’t be driven by price – don’t be in a race to the bottom. We have built a brand on high standards and the best courses available. We bring added value. Rod Tompsett, our mentor, said “Don’t be the provider that piles it high and sells it cheap, when you bring added value then the price is not an issue. You bring that value and make a difference to your client’s organisations, so charge appropriately for your time and efforts.”

If you could give budding entrepreneurs three tips what would they be? 1. Don’t be afraid to fail, it will happen – learn from it and move forward. 2. Make sure that you have a customer for your product or service. Don’t put time, effort and money into something if you have no one who wants it. Lean test your idea.

Looking to the year ahead what are you hoping to achieve? We look to revolutionise the training industry and find new and exciting ways to deliver learning. We are branching out into the UAE and look to have qualified over 10,000 people from our current contracts, delivering in excess of 24,000 online training courses.

If you were to describe Entrepreneurial Spark in three words, what would they be? The people accelerator.

Championing UK entrepreneurs

Name Carolyn Pearson Title: CEO Company: maiden-voyage.com Hatchery: Leeds Maiden-voyage.com is the world’s only specialist network for female business travellers, connecting members in over 80 counties as they travel on business. @maiden_voyage

What encouraged you to join Entrepreneurial Spark’s business accelerator programme? I was in an episode of Fortune Hunter TV and saw Jim Duffy and Gordon Merrylees of RBS talking about Entrepreneurial Spark. I researched it to find out more and knew immediately when I attended a workshop that I definitely wanted to be a part of the programme. Since joining Entrepreneurial Spark how have you seen your business change? I have turned over more in the last quarter than I did in the whole of last year. That was as a result of closing down one revenue stream that was really hard work for very little reward, and taking a leap of faith to launch another one that is much more profitable. We’ve also launched our Female Business Travel Safety training, delivered on behalf of UKTI to encourage more women into export. Maiden-Voyage is a much more grown up organisation now, with a proper accounting system, a visiting office and a place where our interns can work. It’s far more professional than hanging out in a media cafe. As an entrepreneur how have you changed since joining Entrepreneurial Spark? I’ve got my sparkle back! I had underestimated how difficult it was to run a business working from home and how small my world had become. I absolutely thrive in this environment and it has given me even more confidence to push on with the


big stuff. As a result, I’ve finally started the investment rounds that I was too nervous to tackle by myself. If you could give budding entrepreneurs three tips what would they be? 1. Be ‘socially brave’, if you don’t ask you don’t get. It takes the same effort to open a big door as it does a little one, so go for the big one. 2. Make sure you are selling a product that somebody wants to buy and then learn how to sell it, without sales you don’t have a business. 3. Look after your ‘whole self’ – body, spirit and mind. If you fall over, your business isn’t going to get very far. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from your mentor? “You can’t pay the bills with somebody else’s opinion of you” which means trying to always be liked, and doing things for free is not a sustainable recipe for a business. If you were to describe Entrepreneurial Spark in three words, what would they be? Priceless, liberating, empowering.



Impact Report 2015

The Chiclets... What encouraged you to join Entrepreneurial Spark’s business accelerator programme? I was introduced to Entrepreneurial Spark by Lorna Blackett, from NatWest, who inspired me to take the leap and put myself forward with an application. I had never heard of a programme like this before, so it was both daunting and incredibly exciting all at the same time.

Name: Emily Falcus Title: Managing Director Company: BowBaskets Hatchery: Leeds BowBaskets specialise in standout, tailored Luxury Hampers and Corporate gifts of sheer excellence. BowBaskets provides a specialist ‘couture’ service to the corporate gift world, with 70 clients nationwide. Every gift is tailored to complement the culture and ethos of any client and increase opportunities for brand loyalty, repeat and referred business. @BowBaskets

Since joining Entrepreneurial Spark how have you seen your business change? I have seen not only my business, but also myself as an individual change rather dramatically over the past six months. I have realised the potential of the business and how I grow with that. I am much more organised, and love it! I have mapped-out information, data, figures, and future growth plans with detailed information. The challenges have taken me out of my comfort zone, and forced me to approach new opportunities, which I never believed I could. My confidence has grown as a direct result, and I take my business much more seriously, and am extremely proud to do so. If you could give budding entrepreneurs three tips what would they be? 1. Challenge everything about your business. This is the only way you will get to really know it. 2. Listen and observe everything you can. Only then can you competently make great decisions, and know why.

3. Learn the integral value of your business, and don’t be afraid to say “no” if the offer in front of you does not sit alongside the ethos and culture of your business. Don’t compromise your value. Looking to the year ahead what are you hoping to achieve? I’m hoping to achieve a lot, and why not? I’ve set myself both personal and business goals that are realistic, with a top layer of ultimate challenge. By calculating what I can do with the resources I have, I’ve then been able to identify where I can really be in a years’ time and the resources I need to achieve these goals. Over the course of this year I intend to employ more staff, generate new contracts, and move to new premises – and that’s just the start! What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from your mentor? There have been a number of golden nuggets, but the main piece of advice I’ve found really useful is knowing that it’s okay to say “no”. If you were to describe Entrepreneurial Spark in three words, what would they be? Ecstatic, empowering, inspirational.

Championing UK entrepreneurs

Name: Helena Hills Title: Co-Founder Company: TrueStart Performance Coffee Hatchery: Bristol TrueStart Performance Coffee was founded by husband and wife team Simon and Helena Hills. It is a globally unique product born out of their love of triathlon, and frustration at the unpredictability of coffee for use in training as a functional drink. TrueStart is the only coffee in the world designed specifically for sports performance. It’s clean, free from synthetics and crucially; delivers an optimum, reliable level of caffeine every time. @TrueStartCoffee

Since joining Entrepreneurial Spark how have you seen your business change? TrueStart is only seven months old as a business. We’ve been on Entrepreneurial Spark for five of those and things really do move forward at the speed of light! Since joining we’ve completely refocused our target audience, recruited a team and learnt how to manage execution of our vision through other energetic minds as well as ourselves. We’ve also confirmed a major listing across 300+ Holland & Barrett stores (amongst others) and defined really clear one and five year goals. As an entrepreneur how have you changed since joining Entrepreneurial Spark? Self-development is really important to Simon and I. As an entrepreneur it’s actually quite easy to neglect your own learning by getting bogged down in the day-to-day running of your business. Entrepreneurial Spark always reminds us to zoom out and work ‘on’ the business more than we work ‘in’ it. In the past five months I have become much better at listening to my gut. This is completely crucial and so much easier said than done, first you have to learn what it actually sounds like! I’m also getting better at saying “no” to the wrong type of opportunity and slowly but surely, I’m becoming more able to hand tasks over to other people.


If you could give budding entrepreneurs three tips what would they be? 1. Get out there and #GoDo. Even before Entrepreneurial Spark that was my main advice, just without the hashtag! You cannot wait until you have the perfect product, you cannot be secretive with your ideas. 2. Following your gut is also completely crucial, so learn what it sounds like. 3. Finally, speak to people! Build your network. It’s amazing how much people are willing to help, if you are willing to reciprocate. Looking to the year ahead what are you hoping to achieve? We’re focusing on a few things! Firstly, establishing great rate of sale with our key retail partners and making our current listings extremely successful. We are also completely focused on certain key growth metrics and hitting those is not even a choice. Additionally, we’re going out for Series A funding to scale up following seed investment last year and we’re looking to launch a second product. This is on top of the current launch of our new website and brand enhancement, which will be closely followed by our new packaging launch in March. If you were to describe Entrepreneurial Spark in three words, what would they be? Insane daily growth!


Impact Report 2015

The Chiclets... Name: Mel Bound Title: Founder and MD Company: This Mum Runs Hatchery: Bristol This Mum Runs is the fastest growing women’s only running community in the UK. Our dream is to create a worldwide community of women who love running by removing the barriers to getting started, inspiring women to just get their trainers on and give it a go. We offer fun, friendly and inclusive running courses, classes and coaching all at times that fit around the kids. @thismumruns

Since joining Entrepreneurial Spark how have you seen your business change? Since joining in August the acceleration in my business has been incredible. We’ve grown from 600 to more than 1,500 members; have launched in three new locations; signed partnerships with the National Trust and Bath Council; and received funding from Run England to grow our team of coaches to 60. Over the past couple of months, we’ve also worked on a comprehensive marketing toolkit and recently launched a media offensive which has seen us sell more in the first few days of 2016 than in the last five months of 2015. With this kind of momentum, we’re confident we can achieve our ambitious plans for 2016 and beyond. As an entrepreneur how have you changed since joining Entrepreneurial Spark? I’ve changed in so many ways! I’ve learnt to be more focused and am getting better at prioritising work. I’ve become tougher skinned and definitely able to take setbacks less personally. I’ve also realised the importance of taking time for reflection, of building some headspace into my week – otherwise I’m going to burn out. If you could give budding entrepreneurs three tips what would they be? 1. Do something that you’re passionate about, that you really, really love. It will make the hard work, long hours and knock backs so much easier.

2. Get to know your audience well. I’m constantly talking to our members, face to face and through social media – every single day. Most of our decisions have been made with input from them and with their support. As we grow, it’s something we will continue to invest in as a priority. 3. Stay focused. It’s easy to get distracted, but with a clear plan of where you’re aiming, it’s much easier to say “no” to the things that won’t help you grow your business. Looking to the year ahead what are you hoping to achieve? Our main focus this year is working towards a business model that we can roll our nationally and eventually globally. We’re focused on growing the team, creating an amazing culture and brilliant systems. It’s about testing new products, allowing us to extend what we offer as well as how people buy from us and most of all its growing our community and building incredible relationships with our customers, understanding in minute detail what they want to buy and when they want to buy it.


Championing UK entrepreneurs

Name: Aadam Patel Title: Founder Company: Halal Celebrations Hatchery: Brighton Halal Celebrations is a publisher and distributor of quality greeting cards and crackers for all faiths and cultures. Halal Celebrations is about bringing friends and family together and giving them a ‘cracking’, memorable time. Made in Great Britain, Halal Crackers offer affordable, fun and sparkle any time of the year. @HalalCelebrate


What encouraged you to join Entrepreneurial Spark’s business accelerator programme? I was working in isolation on my business plan for Halal Celebrations from my garden room. I heard about Entrepreneurial Spark on the radio offering free office space, mentorship and an entrepreneurial skillset. I successfully enrolled on the business programme and, five months in, I can say whole-heartedly that this is the best decision I have made to progress my business.

If you could give budding entrepreneurs three tips what would they be? 1. Firstly, go and validate your products or services, this will give you invaluable feedback on your idea.

Since joining Entrepreneurial Spark how have you seen your business change? Within the space of four months, Halal Celebrations has gone through market validation right through to development of a brand and range of products.

Looking to the year ahead what are you hoping to achieve? Halal Celebrations will be launching its wedding collection, an industry worth over 10 billion in the UK alone. We are looking to grow our team to include more trained sales people and cracker technicians. We will also be launching our Mother’s Day and Valentines range which has already had much interest from both retailers and individuals.

Halal Celebrations launched and became operational on the 11th December 2015. Over this period, we marketed ourselves at both Christmas fairs and retailers. Over the period of 10 days Halal Celebrations turned over £6,500. As an entrepreneur how have you changed since joining Entrepreneurial Spark? The ongoing support has been phenomenal, and the business mindset and entrepreneurial behaviour I have developed as a result has been integral to helping my business start-up in a very lean and effective way.

2. Develop prototypes in lean and cost effective ways and call upon favours wherever you can. 3. Be pitch perfect ensuring you have your hook to grab your audience’s attention – you might just be talking to an investor.

If you were to describe Entrepreneurial Spark in three words, what would they be? Nurturing, collaborative, success.

iclet Our youngest C h oard nb to date, Coming o f age! o at only 14 years


Impact Report 2015

The Chiclets... Name: Melanie Lawson Title: Founder Company: Bare Biology Hatchery: Brighton Bare Biology is a range of super premium Omega 3 fish oils, offering unrivalled quality in terms of strength, purity and freshness. The first and only British brand awarded a five star certification from the International Fish Oil Standards, stocked in major retailers including Whole Foods and Space NK. @BareBiology

What encouraged you to join Entrepreneurial Spark’s business accelerator programme? My accountant and UKTI Trade Adviser both attended an Entrepreneurial Spark presentation and contacted me on the same day to tell me about it. It felt like fate. I literally had a few days before the closing date for applications. I work alone 90% of the time and thought it would be a really good thing to broaden my horizons and get some fresh perspective on my business. My approach to the business has always been to say “yes” to most things, and in the majority of cases it has been the right decision. You just never know what will come of something unless you try it. Since joining Entrepreneurial Spark how have you seen your business change? There’s much more focus now to the longer term strategy and also a systematic, consistent approach to the day to day running of the business. I’ve also become much more results


driven, keeping a close eye on metrics and using those as motivation to push harder. As an entrepreneur how have you changed since joining Entrepreneurial Spark? I’ve become much better at doing a 60 second pitch! I’ve also developed more self-confidence through being pushed out of my comfort zone, and surviving it, and through the encouragement that comes from positive recognition. Looking to the year ahead what are you hoping to achieve? I want to increase our online sales tenfold; massively increasing our search rankings, building a new website, making our site international for exports and raising our brand awareness to a whole new level. We should turnover around £300k by the end of this financial year and I want to hit the half a million mark in the next financial year. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from your mentor? To raise my own personal profile and become the ‘face’ of the brand. If you were to describe Entrepreneurial Spark in three words, what would they be? Positive, ambitious, go-getting.

Championing UK entrepreneurs

Over to India


In June 2015, Entrepreneurial Spark announced the launch of Entrepreneurial Spark – Powered by Viridian. In its first expansion beyond its native UK, the business accelerator partnered with Viridian to open a string of centres across India. These Hatcheries are not only helping to support a growing culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country, but through the expert support and business advice being offered to young entrepreneurs on board the programme, startups are given the tools they need to scale their business and create thousands of jobs. Entrepreneurial Spark – Powered by Viridian builds people who build businesses, and that has a huge positive knock-on effect in terms of innovation, job creation and economic growth. Don’t take our word for it though, here’s what our entrepreneurs think...

“I’ve found the programme immensely helpful and the support I’ve received from the Enablers has been great.” Bhargav Joshi, Breefynews

“The support we’re getting has made this exciting journey a lot easier, making sure we’re prepared and ready for the future.” Mahendra Sharma, Matrubharti



“It’s been a great learning experience for me. The programme is enabling me to focus, plan and to recognise where I was going wrong – and how to fix it.” Vivek Sancheti, Doctstub

“There is a growing entrepreneurial spirit in India, with a young, large and skilled population making the country uniquely placed to foster new business creation. The vision is to create India’s most successful accelerator and be the ‘go to’ for entrepreneurs.” Jim Duffy, Chief Executive Optimist, Entrepreneurial Spark @GoDo_Today


“The infrastructure is great, very flexible and accommodating. We’ve also benefited from the support of the other entrepreneurs, tapping in to their networks has been really useful.” Sahil & Rushabh Shah, Bhukkads


Impact Report 2015

The sky’s The limit in 2016 There is no doubt in my mind that Entrepreneuring in the UK is going through a growth spurt. We need to use all the levers we can to help policy makers continue to shape a vibrant, tax efficient and globally attractive landscape. In Scotland, we have something really special that fuels start-up entrepreneurs in all sectors – The Scottish EDGE Fund. A partnership with RBS, the Scottish Government and the Hunter Foundation. With a Scottish parliamentary election this year, new venture creation, sustainability and taxation will be on the agenda. Entrepreneurial Spark urges the Scottish Government to continue to be bold in its innovation led approach to entrepreneurship of all genres. The buzzword at the beginning of 2016 is 'Unicorn'. The UK is producing its share of global unicorns. But, we need to tread carefully and not let the pied piper take us down the wrong road – already concern is being voiced at this phenomenon. We must beware the shaky economics of overvalued startups – innovative high growth companies need to focus on financial milestones such as cash flow and profit and not simply on investor metrics. The Northern Powerhouse, City Deals and a regional approach to economic development are welcomed as a complement to London's boom. We should not try to replicate London, but feed off it and welcome its stature as a global leader in engendering great entrepreneurial startups. The UK has vibrant local ecosystems which we must always celebrate, nurture and encourage. Entrepreneurial Spark has two accelerators in India – a country with a population of 1.2 billion. Our Gujarat site is in the city of Ahmedabad with a population of 7.2 million. Yet India has less than 50 accelerator spaces, while London alone boasts over 63 such spaces. Indian entrepreneurs are hungry for success, willing to travel and well read. The appetite for Entrepreneuring here is massive. Let's keep looking East and joining up with like-minded people who we can learn from. And finally, the UK with its generous tax incentives, with schemes like SEIS/EIS, encourages investors to invest in early stage ventures. But, we don't have enough high net worths who know the excitement and fulfilment of investing in and working with entrepreneurs. The work of the UKBAA is essential in finding and educating new investors. Investors are the nitrous needed to fuel entrepreneurs across the UK. Let's get the success messages out there to encourage more to join the revolution. ®

Jim Duffy, Chief Executive Optimist, Entrepreneurial Spark @GoDo_Today

New Chiclets’ acceleration will kick off with Entrepreneurial Spark’s #GoDoBootcamp in all Hatcheries – bringing to life the #GoDo mindset

New Chiclets will join Entrepreneurial Spark across nine UK Hatchery locations, taking the total number of Chiclets on board the programme to in excess of 700

Championing UK entrepreneurs

The grand unveiling of Entrepreneurial Spark’s Manchester Hatchery

The brand new Edinburgh Hatchery will open its doors at Gogarburn as RBS welcomes Chiclets to their global HQ

The big launch of Entrepreneurial Spark’s Belfast Hatchery

The window for applications to join Entrepreneurial Spark’s August intake opens – accepting aspiring Chiclets for new Hatcheries in Cardiff, Milton Keynes and Newcastle, as well as all existing locations

#GoDoAcceler8 marks the half way point in the six-month accelerator programme, with a focus on developing the entrepreneurial leader – building people who build great businesses

The Entrepreneuring® Awards will take place across the UK, offering Chiclets the opportunity to win their share of over £300,000 in cash prizes

Official launches of new Hatcheries in Cardiff, Milton Keynes and Newcastle

Nearly 1,000 entrepreneurs on board the Entrepreneurial Spark programme in 12 UK Hatcheries


JOIN THE ENTREPRENEURING® REVOLUTION AYRSHIRE Olympic Business Park, Drybridge Road, Dundonald KA2 9BE BELFAST Lombard House, 5th – 6th Floor, 10-20 Lombard Street, Belfast BT1 1RD BIRMINGHAM 2 St Philips Place, Birmingham, West Midlands B3 2RB BRIGHTON 149 Preston Road, Brighton BN1 6AF BRISTOL Trinity Quay, Avon Street, Bristol BS2 0PT CARDIFF (COMING AUGUST 2016) 1 Central Square, Cardiff CF10 1ER EDINBURGH Royal Bank of Scotland, 175 Glasgow Road, Gogarburn, Edinburgh EH12 1HQ GLASGOW Caledonia House, Lawmoor Street, Glasgow G5 0US LEEDS Unit 2, 2 Park Cross Street, Leeds LS1 2QH LONDON (COMING FEBRUARY 2017)

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MANCHESTER 1 Hardman Boulevard, Manchester M3 3AQ MILTON KEYNES (COMING AUGUST 2016) 300 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 2AZ NEWCASTLE (COMING AUGUST 2016) 1 Trinity Gardens, Broad Chare Quayside, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 2HF