Start-up expansion confirmed

Entrepreneurial Spark expands incubators into India

E-SparkOne of Scotland’s top start-up incubators is to expand into India as it capitalises on a formula that has already seen it establish a firm foothold around the UK.

Entrepreneurial Spark, which is actively supported by leading Scottish tycoons Sir Tom Hunter, Sir Willie Haughey and Ann Gloag, has grown rapidly from its Ayrshire base.

Daily Business revealed its overseas plans in April soon after founder Jim Duffy had signed up big four accountancy firm KPMG to join Royal Bank of Scotland as a key supporter.

Its Indian accelerator programme is a joint venture with Viridian, and will be known as Entrepreneurial Spark – Powered by Viridian.

Mr Duffy said: “We build people who build businesses, and that has a huge positive knock-on effect in terms of innovation, job creation and economic growth.

“We have chosen India as our first overseas expansion because of the huge potential there for entrepreneurship to make a difference.”

The Indian locations will include Bangalore and Delhi.

ESpark was launched in 2012 to provide early stage companies with a rigorous programme of intensive workshops and advice.

It has since opened “hatcheries” in Glasgow and Edinburgh and expanded into England with others, either operational or planned, in Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol and Leeds. Belfast, Cardiff and Manchester are also on the list of targets.

Mr Duffy, a former policeman and cabin crew flight attendant, describes ESpark as a “university for start-ups”.

Gordon Merrylees, whose expanded role as RBS’s UK-wide adviser to small firms was revealed in Daily Business last November, said the main benefit for the bank from its association with ESpark is building trust.

“We are finding the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, mentoring them and helping them grow.  We want to be the go-to bank that understands entrepreneurs,” he told Daily Business in April.


Watch out for updates on this story

Picture: Jim Duffy, Gary Deans of KPMG and Gordon Merrylees

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