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New hatcheries to expand scheme

ESpark hatches London plan as start-up network heads for 7,000

ESpark winnersEntrepreneurial Spark, the world’s largest free business accelerator, has unveiled a programme of new hatchery openings, with one planned for London in 2017 following those already in process next year in Belfast, Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle and Milton Keynes.

It is already working on a joint venture in India which is growing rapidly on the Subcontinent.

ESpark was launched in Scotland in 2011 with hatcheries in Ayr, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Others are operating in Birmingham, Bristol, Brighton and Leeds. The network will embrace an entrepreneurial community that is eventually expected to include 7,000 start-ups.

It is preparing to move into new premises in Edinburgh, where its partner Royal Bank of Scotland is creating a centre for entrepreneurship. RBS is opening up its global headquarters to key business organisations, which will be housed in the former executive wing. Entrepreneurial Spark’s new Edinburgh base will include a ‘Hatchery’ for early stage start-ups and a ‘Nest’ for high growth, high impact businesses.

Jim Duffy, founder and chief executive, said: “Our model for helping early stage businesses has proved extremely successful, helping more than 350 companies to create over 1,000 jobs and £41 million in turnover last year, when we were operating from just three Hatcheries in Scotland.

“People considering setting up a business or at an early stage consistently tell us that support and advice is what they need most, and with small companies undoubtedly being the lifeblood of the economy and creating the majority of jobs, this support is crucial to cementing a balanced and sustainable recovery.

“That’s why we are rolling out our Hatcheries to other hubs of business and entrepreneurialism in the UK, and ambitious small businesses in London need support as much as anywhere else.

“We are also looking forward to moving into Gogarburn, into what should be a very vibrant and entrepreneurial atmosphere. This will be exciting for us and ideal for the start-up businesses joining our EdinburghHatchery.”

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