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enabling entrepreneurs...



Re-Imagine #GoDo


OUR Vision To create a business start-up renaissance in and from Scotland, through the development of entrepreneurial mindsets and behaviours. Entrepreneurial SparkŽ is a hybrid of a business incubator and business accelerator – Hatchery – where start-up and early stage businesses are hot-housed, nurtured and enabled for up to one year in the space.

building business together


“Scotland has been crying out for something like Entrepreneurial Spark for years. It is the kind of thing which those of us who have created successful businesses absolutely have to get behind.”

By removing worries about

for Spring 2013 with entrepreneur

accommodation, these young

in residence, Ann Gloag OBE –

businesses have been able to

an entrepreneurial and philanthropic

concentrate on fully developing their

dynamo in her own right – with

business ideas.

Edinburgh City Council and Edinburgh Napier University.

I have taken a keen interest in the

Next up, Aberdeen or Inverness?

project and it has been tremendous

Sir William Haughey OBE

to see these young businesses

ESpark is already leaving an indelible

leaving our premises with turnover,

imprint on the Scottish start-up

investment and fully equipped to drive their businesses forward.

Sir Tom Hunter

I applaud them and all the chiclets

scene and I believe it’s because the public and private sectors have come together in a meaningful way

It only seems like yesterday,

as they show the desire to enter,

The ethos of Entrepreneurial

– we entrepreneurs giving up time,

that Jim Duffy approached me to

develop and emerge from our

Spark is bang on the money for

resources and space with the public

support Entrepreneurial Spark.

Hatchery and go forward to create

Scotland and my own ambition

sector bolting on budget for further

Now just one year on this report

jobs and wealth in Scotland.

for our small nation:

support – and it’s working. I’m very

To create a business start-up

proud of the way the three councils in Ayrshire have come together.

demonstrates the tremendous impact that Entrepreneurial

Scotland has been crying out for

renaissance in and from Scotland –

Spark has achieved.

something like Entrepreneurial

through the development

Spark for years. It is the kind of thing

of entrepreneurial mindsets

Moreover, thanks to the leadership

Entrepreneurial Spark is all about

which those of us who have created

and behaviours.

of Finance Secretary John Swinney,

providing start-up entrepreneurs

successful businesses absolutely

with the support, coaching, challenge

have to get behind.

and mentoring they require to

MSP, a funding gap has been bridged Jim Duffy and his team at

with The Scottish Edge Fund for high

Entrepreneurial Spark are certainly

growth start-ups to apply to.

develop their businesses. But it is

I am totally committed to

not short of ambition, aiming high

also vital that they are able to do this

Entrepreneurial Spark. I look forward

as they rightly should.

in a safe environment. That is why I

to seeing the project grow beyond

am absolutely delighted to donate

Glasgow and Ayrshire. I would

And so far they have not come up

the premises, desk space, technology

encourage others to get involved

short. Two Hatcheries are already

and other support required at City.

in supporting Scotland’s start-up

underway and the Edinburgh


Hatchery is confirmed and recruiting

Overall I really can see the start of that renaissance. Let’s hope nothing gets in its way.

The past 12 months have been most exciting for a number of reasons. We are executing on a vision where all genres of startup entrepreneurs can access a better way to shape up themselves and their ventures. The key word here for us is – ‘all’.

Entrepreneurship Versus Entrepreneuring:

events, ambassadors, design thinking

fast; smart and cheap, pivot and try

sessions, mentors, access to top level

again. Nowhere else in the Western

Universities and research

‘been there, done it’ entrepreneurs,

Hemisphere is there a national

organisations write papers on

prizes for effort and achievement and

accelerator model evolving that is

Entrepreneurship constantly. We

of course, our in-house enablement

delivered locally through the support

have degrees and masters courses

team. All entrepreneurs will tell you

of successful private individuals,

in Entrepreneurship. But, when we

it can be lonely building a business –

complemented by local authority

look at Scotland’s most successful

it no longer needs to be.

support and buttressed by big

entrepreneurs, they just got on with the job of Entrepreneuring: Applied

jim duffy ceo For too long in Scotland, we have been concerned with specific sectors and types of business. Entrepreneurial Spark (ESpark) is more about the entrepreneur, their mindset and how they go about their business – regardless of sector. Scotland needs all its entrepreneurial talent boosted so it can be all it can be. That is why our entry criteria are simple:  a workable idea and the look in your eye that shouts – I am going to do this!!

Entrepreneurship. We believe and advocate that entrepreneurs have

business: this is a powerful, However, with this level of support

cogent and positive blend stirring

comes an expectation of being

in Scotland right now.

‘inspired to excel’. Entrepreneurial Spark nudges start-up entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurial Spark plans to

incessantly so they make forward

expand within Scotland so that –

progress. You would expect nothing

as a country – we have a joined up,

and a toolkit of behaviours.

less from a team who want Scotland

cohesive Hatchery model, where

to become the place of choice in

those who wish to can access free

Scotland can produce more enabled

Europe to establish and grow new

entrepreneurial enablement to do

entrepreneurs of all ages – if they


so. We will do this in conjunction

to take action. They have to get out there and make things happen. But to do that – they need a mindset

believe that entrepreneuring can be a job and a career choice. They need confidence in an ecosystem that will work with them, while at the same time encouraging them, without mollycoddling them. Our Hatchery model is designed to do just that. We provide our young businesses – Chiclets – with a safe environment, peer to peer collaboration, peer to peer pressure to perform, metrics,


with all our supporters who ‘get Scotland has the potential to be world

it’ and truly want Scotland to

class in delivering support to its start-

be a global player with a global

up entrepreneurs. We have support

entrepreneurial mindset.

agencies that can do it. We have a

Team Scotland can #GoDo

government that is ‘up for the cup’ in delivering on new venture creation and supporting the ecosystem and we have a talent pool of people who – if

“A rising tide floats many boats…”

encouraged to start businesses – can now be accelerated to success or fail enabling entrepreneurs...


From starting up in January 2012, we believe that Entrepreneurial Spark has achieved remarkable impact in its first year of enabling start-ups... With a little help from our friends. With the outstanding contribution

in achieving this. We are working

of our patrons we were able to

with them, Scottish Enterprise and

establish our Hatcheries in Glasgow

Business Gateway to create new

and Ayrshire. Sir William Haughey

businesses with growth aspirations

OBE provided premises at his City

which will make a lasting impact.

Holdings Headquarters in Glasgow and Sir Tom Hunter has done

corporate partners

likewise at his Hunter Foundation

Our Corporate Partners are

headquarters in Dundonald. This invaluable support from two of Scotland’s leading entrepreneurs has allowed us to concentrate on challenging and coaching our chiclets while providing them with an environment where they can #GoDo from day one. Scottish Enterprise provided start-up support. Our Local Authority Partners are committed to the regeneration of their economies and believe in the contribution of business start-ups

providing funding and direct support for our chiclets. We are receiving tremendous support from the Royal Bank Of Scotland; Harper Macleod LLP; The Big Partnership; Harrison Goddard Foote; William Duncan and Co; Glasgow Caledonian University and now Edinburgh Napier University; all of whom are focussing their efforts on Entrepreneurial Spark and our chiclets and in so doing ensuring that we are making a difference to Scotland’s business birth rate.

Mentors Entrepreneurial Spark is proud of the extensive and growing mentor network wrapped around our chiclets; wise and trusted counsellors or teachers who are excited about what we are doing and want to pass on their expertise and time to entrepreneurs starting out. Our mentors are adding value by passing on their skills, experience and networks to our chiclets. Typically our mentors have either developed and grown a business or they have specialist knowledge which they impart. All of this has combined to deliver real impact within the last twelve months.

west coast hatchery, ayrshire.

key metrics


ÂŁ3,546,000 ÂŁ2,560,000 139

chiclets supported


FUNDING levered

62 patents and trademarks 16 licences and franchises

196 jobs created interns 64 student developed and inspired

this is a tremendous return for all our stakeholders and scotland.

enabling entrepreneurs...

As at 31st January 2013.

the glasgow hatchery.

g n i k r a Sp Case

Case study 1

Level 10 Level 10 create jargon-free software to help companies manage their finances and cashflow more easily. The software is sold on a monthly pay-as-you go model, which makes it more affordable than traditional software where you pay up-front regardless of whether you use the software or not.

From joining Entrepreneurial Spark with an initial business idea, the help and support offered to us by ESpark has allowed us to build a functional prototype of the product and test it with a range of potential customers and industry bodies over a six month period. We secured £56k in external investment to progress the build of the software. We contracted a robust strategic supplier to build the software. We released the software for Beta testing which will go into commercial release in March. We secured a number of pre-orders for the software. We increased our useful personal network by over 150 people. Our understanding of what is really required to start and run your own business has increased massively. The ESpark education re start-ups (ideation, pivots, customer focused development etc.) coupled with the practical application of these concepts in our business has meant that we are much better equipped to start and run a business. This differs significantly from the education and practices required to run an established business which is where the bulk of our experience had been previously.

Case study 2

TWM Productions TWM Productions Ltd and its trading arm Tummy with Mummy Ltd innovates child development products. The first Tummy with Mummy product is the world’s only baby and toddler seat with a built-in angled tummy time platform to help infants develop their vital motor skills.

Our understanding of our market and our subsequent adoption of our business model has been the result of our ESpark experience. We loved the ideation sessions. They were tough and hard hitting, but honest. We learned a lot from them. Less enthusiastic about the metrics but we now appreciate the importance of these. In the beginning the pitching practice improved my confidence dramatically but then I found it draining. However, this has been a massive learning curve. For us there have been two major impacts. The “can do” approach has been hugely influential and I truly believe that “a rising tide really does float many boats”. We experienced that. I believe that we have become more disciplined – more business-like. Creativity resists structure but without that structure there is no business. I had been running the business on a reactive basis. ESpark helped us to look at TWM from a distance through the eyes of others who were willing us to succeed. The single biggest impact of ESpark has been the enablement of our team. Decisions are made for the good of the business even when unpopular. We have formalised our business structure and are now focussed on target setting and metrics.



Case study 3 is an online shopping destination site. New technology has been created that allows products to be recommended to users from over 300 retailers and provides them with a unique shopping experience, alongside an interesting social slant.

ESpark provided the community and support needed to make the business a success. We’ve massively moved forward. I’ve changed the concept, got a new team, got a new product, won a few awards and we’re now working towards a full release in April of this year and hopefully a very positive and successful 2013. I find the support of the co-working community to be vital to the ‘ESpark experience’. They provide great words of comfort when things aren’t going well and always words of wisdom to keep you improving and pushing forward. Ideation and metric setting was useful for allowing me to plot a clear path to achieving our goals and made sure we were on track throughout the year. I’ve always been a very confident pitcher but I think the ESpark experience has helped me define my pitching technique and narrow it down slightly. I’ve pitched at ESpark events but also at events like EIE and Bizcamp Tel Aviv in the last year. I think my confidence has grown throughout the ESpark experience and I’ve become a better leader, communicator and better entrepreneur. I would now say I’m opportunity hungry and someone that is always looking at the bigger picture. For new entrants, treasure every minute of it, work with the start-ups around you and run as fast as you can.

Case study 4

FUZE ceremonies We are changing the way people celebrate and commemorate life’s events. People want freedom of choice in their marriage ceremonies, in what is said at funerals and want a modern twist on Christenings. We provide a professional speech writing service.

I cannot overstate the importance of the infrastructure provided. The desk space, the meeting rooms, the challenging of our thought processes, our business plan. We have made major steps forward. We have the building blocks in place for four revenue-generating services. We have created 13 additional jobs. It can be a lonely time setting up a business but having people around who are on the same journey helps a massive amount. There were useful challenges to our thinking. Metric setting is critical in challenging businesses and ensuring that they are performing. We now have the mindsets to focus on innovation, sales and the need to constantly challenge ideas for new services and products. Our business has benefitted from ESpark because we now have a network we can tap into and a better knowledge of people, companies and organisations in Scotland who may assist us. When you join ESpark get to know people around you; find out their skills and share yours. Help people and they will help you.

Case study 5

coolside Coolside makes travelling comfortable. We have invented and patented Powernap which will be the next generation of travel pillow. Our goal is to revolutionise the way people travel by providing a product which enables them to sleep easily.

In ESpark we have gone from a lack of synergy in the vision, zero investment, no connection to investors, no sales to redesigning our product to the best travel pillow in the world, negotiating investment from an Angel Syndicate, packaging and branding to the highest level, launching our product and selling 130 in six days and an aligned vision and team who know exactly where they are going. We were pre-revenue when we joined ESpark but we are now generating sales. ESpark spurs you on and accelerates you. The environment makes you more open to discussing ideas with others and people are receptive of each other’s ideas. Ideation has been fantastic for us and has led to significant product and business model improvement. Our confidence in pitching has improved ten fold but there is still room for improvement Focus and forensic examination of the customer and customer’s customer has helped to identify customers’ needs and what they will buy. During investor negotiations the skills which we have learned in ESpark have been extremely valuable. We were asked to pitch in front of five very important people. Before ESpark we would have stumbled. ESpark has enabled us to achieve a far superior product, a business mentality and identify collaboration opportunities.

Case study 6

markup Markup is a software development company that has developed an eCommerce platform specifically targeted for use by mid-sized fashion retailers. The platform is a hosted and managed solution which solves key specific problems of the target market.

For us ideation is about getting challenged on our value proposition. Our metrics are mainly focussed towards this key area. Constant pitching practice allows us to make our mistakes in this safe space rather than in front of a potential client. For us the important mindsets are; customer engagement – it’s all about adding value for the customer; knowing the numbers – you’ve got to know your numbers and be measuring the right things in your business; opportunity hungry – know where you can add more value. Now that I have co-founded a business I can recognise traits in me that fit the mould of an entrepreneur. ESpark has helped put a label on these traits and focus and build them. I now have the confidence and self awareness to take action; to not only think about opportunities but look to implement them. ESpark has equipped me with the tools to allow this process to happen. I was one of the companies which went to Babson College to attend their Entrepreneurial Boot Camp and this one week intensive course reinforced the teachings of ESpark. For new ESparkers, make sure you have a strong value proposition as this is what will give your business success. Also make sure you can articulate your proposition clearly and simply.



Case study 7

ayrshire children services ACS is a Social Enterprise which works to support children aged 7-11 with Additional Support Needs within their local community. We tailor support around their individual needs. We train and develop workers who then work with the children.

I joined ESpark to get the skills to change my mindset from being a Community Worker to an Entrepreneur. The support which I have received in ESpark has helped me to transform ACS. ESpark has helped me to open doors and establish the first ever social enterprise child care service. The encouragement from other chiclets has been second to none. Having others around you enables you to keep moving forward. My confidence and self-belief has grown through pitching. The ESpark team has encouraged me to push myself, challenged my mindsets and supported me through the hard times. I have become more focussed on outcomes and forecasting. I have become more self aware, my confidence has grown, I am thinking positively and I am comfortable with the uncomfortable. My mentor has helped me to identify a financial manager who understands Social Enterprises and Community Interest Companies. This has been a major help for me. Being exposed to thinking about my mindsets and being in the same environment as forward thinkers has helped me immensely. For those joining ESpark I would say be open minded, take advice and keep moving forward.

Case study 8

desk union Desk Union is an online platform connecting microbusinesses who need workspace with landlords who have underutilised commercial property. We want to share the growth journey with our tenants meeting their workspace needs as they grow.

ESpark has been completely transformational to my business. My biggest achievement was having the confidence to leave full time employment to develop my businesses. This was a terrifying step but thanks to ESpark, I had the self belief, entrepreneurial mindset and business acumen to take the leap. I have employed six interns and they have all played a part in growing my business. My revenue has increased by 60% during my time in ESpark. Running a start-up is an absolute roller coaster. Luckily I have been in the same boat and office as 30 other like minded people who understand the highs and lows. Ideation is like someone turning a light switch on in your brain. It offers a candid and constructive outlook. It’s not always easy but the team always has your best interests at heart. Metric setting has been really valuable. It allows me to push my business forward. It’s always great to hear someone say you have been busy. Pitching helps to focus the mind and nail down your pain points. Practising in a safe environment was priceless. I now realise the value of mentors and advisors. I now have the confidence to ask for what I need. I am not afraid to think global, dream big and go get it.

Case study 9

clear returns Clear Returns is an innovative tech company which has developed predictive software for the retail sector which helps preserve profits by reducing return rates.

We have progressed enormously in ESpark; we have gone from having an idea to a clear vision, a solid and talented team, great press coverage, several awards, seed funding and a viable product and sales pipeline. We have created two intern positions, one of whom became our first graduate employee. We have also recruited a data modeller through Talent Scotland. We have received great support from Scottish Enterprise and have been awarded a £100,000 SMART Grant. The co-working environment is one of the best benefits of ESpark. On many occasions we have been introduced by ESpark to influential people. The atmosphere is always extremely positive and supportive. The support and preparation for pitching from ESpark has been extremely helpful. We have now successfully pitched at events such as the IBM SmartCamp in Dublin and the Big Data Venture Challenge in Rome. Re-Imagining has been a helpful mindset. Being able to stand back and objectively look at your business and where it needs to be is a crucial lesson which we have developed through ESpark. ESpark has stimulated and accelerated us. It is about much more than space but the importance in having a professional collaborative environment should not be underestimated.

Case study 10

Log 6

Log 6 are developing next generation disinfection systems which kill the pathogens and superbugs that most threaten health and wellbeing, disrupt business and which are immune to most existing disinfection protocols.

We accessed funding and skills to develop a preventative method to reduce the 100 million community or health acquired infections that cost the world’s economy £400bn a year. We successfully attracted a world class PLC CEO level board of advisors across MedTech, international IP Law and food process manufacturing. We leveraged the credibility gained through association with ESpark into cash for equity offers from multiple sources. We strengthened the capabilities and confidence of our founding team through the internal mentor programme and the pitching clinics. We developed a stronger work ethic which is enhanced by working alongside other like minded individuals and an enthusiastic, highly experienced and supportive Hatchery Enabler. We were introduced to a global outsource manufacturer which has agreed to take on our products, their future manufacture and international fulfilment. It is highly unusual for them to entertain a start-up of our size. It would not have been possible without ESpark’s introduction and it solves a significant cash flow problem in funding future product manufacture. We identified a potential future CEO capable of helping us scale our business.












city of edinburgh council

start-up Britain

“In keeping with our strong heritage and top-ranking

“Working with our partners to support businesses and create new

“Entrepreneurial Spark entered the enterprise landscape in

for stimulating entrepreneurship of all kinds, Babson

jobs is at the heart of our new Strategy for Jobs. It is vital that

Scotland and has rapidly made its mark. Not only does it incubate

Executive and Enterprise Education is proud to have played

we nurture today’s entrepreneurs to ensure that we create new

companies with high growth and global potential but by virtue of

a part in Entrepreneurial Spark’s creation and growth. The

businesses to contribute to the health of Edinburgh’s economy

its being it also sends out a message that anyone can turn an idea

opportunities, networks, and excitement that ESpark has

in the future, which is why we are delighted to be supporting

into a business and become their own boss. A good deal of the

developed over a short period of time are truly admirable.

Entrepreneurial Spark in this exciting new venture.”

success of this entrepreneurial accelerator is down to the talented

We are equally pleased to continue to work together to create new opportunities for business start-ups in Scotland, and beyond, as ESpark moves into its next phase of

Frank ross Convener of the Economy Committee City of Edinburgh Council

and look forward to seeing what’s to come in 2013!” Emma Jones co-founder of Start-Up Britain

expansion in providing more comprehensive services and programmes to both their Hatcheries and chiclets.”

team that runs it. I’ve had the pleasure of watching your progress

Edinburgh Napier University “Encouraging and helping our students to be more confident,


creative and entrepreneurial is at the heart of what we do at

“Great entrepreneurial thinkers are made, they are not born.

Edinburgh Napier, which is why we are so pleased to be able

And yet to date our culture has left the creation of such people,

to support Entrepreneurial Spark in Edinburgh. I believe the

the people who are the driving force of our economy, to

partnership will provide a number of opportunities for both

chance. Success leaves clues and the essential ingredients of

“Scotland has a long history of entrepreneurial talent and

organisations, whether helping fledgling businesses tap into the

entrepreneurial success can be distilled and recreated. Two crucial

it is through innovative organisations such as ESpark that

University’s resources or allowing our own graduates and students

components are mentors and massive positive peer pressure.

we can inspire and create the next generation of wealth

to better develop their business ideas.”

To try and make it without them is like being an ember removed

Elaine Eisenman Dean, Executive Education Babson College

SCDI generators for our economy. In a global economy Scotland needs to be bolder and more ambitious, we need a GoDo attitude to unleash the potential of the many start-up businesses that we know can succeed in Scotland, in the

Professor Dame Joan Stringer Principal and Vice-Chancellor Edinburgh Napier University

and at SCDI we look forward to joining our energies with

Kilmarnock college

the ESpark team to create, encourage and support new

“I am absolutely delighted with the success of the first Oxygen

businesses that will contribute to Scotland’s long term and

programme. Our students have been inspired with the concept

sustainable economic success.”

of the project, engaging with the ESpark team to build their

UK and internationally. ESpark is making this happen

Prof Lesley Sawers Chief Executive Scottish Council for Development and Industry

confidence and to develop their entrepreneurial skills. The outcomes have been exceptional for our eight students with all of them finding positive destinations. Two have found employment, two are volunteering, three have progressed on to further learning in either a college or university and one has joined the army.” HEATHER DUNK PRINCIPAL, KILMARNOCK COLLEGE

from a fire. ESpark provides both a destination and haven for our country’s previously unexpressed entrepreneurial talent, proving that the entrepreneurial spirit was always there – all that was needed was the ESpark.” Mick Jackson Founder WildHearts and Creator of Micro-Tyco



“2012 will go down in history as one of the greatest sporting years ever, where many of us were truly inspired by the dedication, desire, determination and expertise of our sporting heroes. However for RBS Business Banking Scotland, 2012 will go down as

RBS “Working Together” with Entrepreneurial spark to support Business in Scotland.

the year when we embarked on our own Inspiring journey. By joining forces with ESpark, we have been given the opportunity to mentor,

On 7 June 2012, RBS secured a

inspire and share our Business Banking expertise with a population

partnership with ESpark, overcoming

of businesses, supporting them to progress towards achieving their

strong competition from other

business ambitions. I have been immensely proud and honoured to

financial organisations.

be involved with Jim, Sir Tom and Sir Willie in helping awe-inspiring entrepreneurs who have taken the brave leap of faith to turn their business ideas into reality.

As part of this collaboration with Entrepreneurial Spark, RBS is working to help advise, mentor and

RBS is committed to helping the Scottish economy and what better way to do that than by being part of the entrepreneurial eco-system that is breathing new oxygen into the Start-Up business market in Scotland.” Gordon Merrylees Regional Managing Director RBS Business Banking Scotland

support the “chiclets”. RBS is also providing £375,000 over four years and these funds will go straight to the young businesses at the “Hatchery Hits the Street” event to help them grow, survive and thrive. The complete package of financial and on the ground support is what makes the relationship between RBS

in more communities to explore

Start-Up businesses traditionally

enterprise, build their skills and

struggle to find support and advice

start up in business. We are

in their early years and therefore

undertaking research, hosting

RBS’s experienced team of Business

workshops and creating a network

Managers can offer all kinds of

of organisations and partners across

advice, not just financial, in a

the UK, so we can better understand

process that is helping to rebuild

and support the needs of those

trust and confidence in the bank. It

starting out in business.

is widely known that strong support, guidance and mentoring delivers a

As well as supporting the ambitions our efforts on three groups that, with

There is a significant growing

more support, could play a stronger

momentum in Scotland to support

role in the entrepreneurial economy:

a renaissance in the Start-Up

Inspiring Youth Enterprise – supporting people aged 13 – 30 to explore enterprise and start-up in business. Inspiring Women in Enterprise – enhancing the role of women in enterprise.

and ESpark so exciting.

Inspiring Social Enterprise – funding and support for the social

The collaboration with ESpark is part

enterprise sector.

of RBS Inspiring Enterprise, a new initiative encouraging more people

stronger business survival rate.

of our customers, we are focusing

market. RBS is delighted to be part of the strategic partnership alongside ESpark to facilitate a thriving entrepreneurial eco-system that will help to support these small businesses and budding entrepreneurs. For RBS, this partnership is not about how many new bank accounts we can get but more about how many businesses we can help bring to life and improve survival rates, which in turn fuels job creation to help the Scottish economy.

Entrepreneurial Spark has received tremendous support from our local authority partners who have been instrumental in assisting us to establish in Glasgow and Ayrshire.


Glasgow City council

North Ayrshire Council

South Ayrshire Council

East Ayrshire Council

Entrepreneurial Spark provides a unique and valuable addition to the business support landscape in Glasgow. It is an extremely innovative organisation, and the entrepreneurs, many of whom I have met, are going to be worth watching out for in the future.

The Council is committed to the economic regeneration of the North Ayrshire area.

It is South Ayrshire Council’s main aim to ensure that businesses in South Ayrshire are enterprising, innovative and equipped to succeed in a changing world. South Ayrshire Council is proud to be supporting and working alongside an organisation that shares and embraces this same vision.

East Ayrshire Council’s Community Plan promotes a vision of strong, vibrant communities. A thriving local economy, providing employment opportunities, is central to achieving this.

Glasgow City Council is driving forward an ambitious plan to promote economic growth in the City by focussing on those interventions which will lead to increased business formation and growth. The services of ESpark assist in that by accelerating and energising the entrepreneurs who will create the next generation of growth businesses. We are taking steps to integrate the ESpark offer in the wider landscape with managed referrals and complementary support programmes. We are looking forward to seeing our relationship paying further dividends over the coming year. Gordon Matheson Leader Glasgow City Council

Key to this will be increasing the number of businesses starting up in our area. That is why we are delighted to be supporting Entrepreneurial Spark. I have visited the Ayrshire Hatchery on a number of occasions and you can sense the enthusiasm and commitment of the young businesses based there. Entrepreneurial Spark is making a difference and I will ensure that the Council’s additional business support services are in place to help ESpark businesses to grow and develop in North Ayrshire in the future. William Gibson Leader North Ayrshire Council

Entrepreneurial Spark is about creating an environment that nurtures, supports, informs, but most of all energises and challenges budding entrepreneurs to think big and deliver success. This approach is stimulating new vibrant businesses which create economic growth and jobs in South Ayrshire. Establishing a new business at any time is a challenge, in the current difficult economic times perhaps even more so, which is why I am committed to South Ayrshire Council continuing to work in partnership with Entrepreneurial Spark. Bill McIntosh Leader south Ayrshire Council

We provide a wide range of support to the local business base, both directly through our Economic Development Team and indirectly through our Business Gateway contractor. However, startup levels remain below the Scottish average and East Ayrshire needs to do more to encourage the creation of new, sustainable businesses. New start businesses will help broaden the business base to offer a range of job opportunities to current and future generations. We are building an enterprise culture within our schools and are committed to creating a culture of entrepreneurship across our communities. Our involvement with Entrepreneurial Spark reflects our commitment to developing the enterprise spirit and ensures that our new businesses have a safe environment to start their journey. Douglas Reid Leader East Ayrshire Council


“Scotland has a proud history of enterprise and innovation, thanks to generations of talented Scots with fresh ideas and drive to see them through. Entrepreneurial

So what is in store for Entrepreneurial Spark in 2013?

Royal Bank of Scotland In June in conjunction with Royal Bank of Scotland we will host a ‘Scotland does Business’ at RBS Headquarters in

Spark is playing an important

Access to capital

role in strengthening Scotland’s

We will continue to champion the

entrepreneurial spirit. Over the

Edge Fund – a vital cog in supporting

past year, the organisation has

the start-up capital needs of

added new energy and enthusiasm

Scotland’s young businesses. With

Scotland’s high net worths and CEOs.

to our entrepreneurial ecosystem

our experience of working on the

and provides valuable advice and

Edge Fund we plan to target


support at the earliest stage to

and bring in fresh investment

rising stars in Scotland’s business

cash to Scotland. We are engaging

community. I would like to

with Angel Syndicates and Venture

congratulate ESpark for their work

Capital companies across the UK and

so far, their ambitious and vibrant

beyond. This will offer them fresh

approach, and their eagerness to

deal flow, while making them

work cooperatively with others for

aware of the awesome talent that

the benefit of Scotland’s economy.”

we have in Scotland.

Hatchery Hits the Street We plan two big events open to all of Scotland that highlight the hard work of its start-up entrepreneurs – “Hatchery Hits the Street” will be held in Glasgow in March and Edinburgh in October. £100,000 will be awarded to high impact entrepreneurs on these nights. John Swinney MSP Finance secretary Scottish Government

We hope to see you there...

Gogarburn. During the day our trading businesses will showcase their devices and products, while in the evening, those seeking investment will pitch to

Every 45 days we will bring together all our start-ups to our Acceler-8 events, joining up the fresh new network that we are creating in Scotland. Here they will experience, learn and be tested to make them and their networks stronger. We are delighted PwC are sponsoring these.  

International Thinking We will continue to forge relationships with like-minded institutions. In January 2013, fourteen participants visited Babson College in Boston with support from RBS and Scottish Enterprise to participate in a week long business start-up bootcamp. Exposing our start-ups to leading edge entrepreneurial thinking is and will remain a key element of what we do.

supporting young people The highly innovative ‘Oxygen’ programme run with Kilmarnock College is impacting young people within our hatcheries. We aim to extend this with other colleges.

further expansion We plan to roll-out and grow ESpark in order that all entrepreneurs across the country can benefit from the successful model.

Finally and the most important of all... We will continue to execute on developing a new generation of entrepreneurs with mindsets and behaviours that will boost the Scottish economy in everything that they do, as they will be hard-wired to take action – always.

enabling entrepreneurs...

Which of these are you displaying today? Mindsets


focus, focus, focus


forensic examination of customer & customer’s customer


Re-imagine the proposition daily Outcome thinking – metrics

customer engagement taking action always

Know your numbers

using and developing a relevant network

be comfortable with being uncomfortable

selling and pitching


opportunity hungry

Confidence with humility

awareness – always on


lean work ethic

Positive thinking – no politics

intuitive decision making

emotional engagement


being curious constantly

working with mentors

inspired to excel




enabling entrepreneurs...

o D o G # Tel: +(44) 0141 418 9120 Email: Twitter: @ESparkUK Head office: Caledonia House, Lawmoor Street, Glasgow G5 0US West Coast: Olympic Business Park, Drybridge Road, Dundonald KA2 9BE edinburgh: 36 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 9EB

ESpark- Impact Report 2012  

ESpark annual impact report

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