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As new Edinburgh hatchery opens

ESpark has helped start-ups attract £45m

Jim Duffy ESparkIncubator scheme Entrepreneurial Spark has unveiled a new report showing how it has enabled start-up firms to attract £45 million of investment support.

The five-year-old initiative has supported 660 businesses, of whom 88% are still trading.

Its latest report also shows that these firms had an aggregate turnover of just under £86m and  created 1,816 jobs.

The data was released as the new Edinburgh Hatchery opened in the former RBS executive suite at Gogarburn in partnership with KPMG.

It will provide start-ups with expert enablement – focussing on developing entrepreneurial leadership mindsets and behaviours amongst the 80 businesses who will join the programme every six months. The Hatchery will offer free critical office facilities, allowing entrepreneurs to focus on establishing and growing their business.

As part of the Entrepreneurial Centre’s ecosystem they will be able to collaborate and network with enterprise support organisations and fellow entrepreneurs, as well as RBS staff. RBS employees will also be encouraged to work with business owners in order to learn from their entrepreneurialism and gain a better understanding of the challenges they face.

RBS’ new Open Experience, which has moved into the former executive wing from the centre of Edinburgh, will also be open to the entrepreneurs.

This centre of excellence houses a team of experts pursuing innovative new technologies for the bank, working with fintech companies to develop new ideas into customer pilots, as well as searching the globe for emerging trends and tech.

Start-ups in the new Hatchery will have access to these experts, their research and thought leadership, as well as their international scouting networks from Silicon Valley, Israel and the UK. They will also be able to learn from RBS’ experience, for instance in overcoming the challenges of implementing new technologies in a large organisation.

Entrepreneurial Spark is joined in the former Executive Wing by key Scottish business organisations, including Entrepreneurial Scotland; Business Gateway; Napier University; Scottish Edge; The Princes Trust Scotland; The Lens (Scotland’s social EDGE Fund); Big Noodle; Bright Red Triangle; and We are the Future.

Alison Rose, chief executive of commercial and private banking at RBS, said: “We are determined to support entrepreneurs and the impact they make in driving the economy.

“This is why we have created an entrepreneurial ecosystem that will give start-ups the best chance, by taking away concerns about things like office facilities and letting them concentrate on their business.

“But we also want our staff to become more entrepreneurial, and by putting the new Hatchery at the heart of our Edinburgh HQ we want them to learn from the entrepreneurs and start thinking like them. This way they can understand our customers better and also help improve the culture of the bank.”

Jim Duffy (pictured), chief executive, Entrepreneurial Spark said: “We can see yet again the impact entrepreneurs are having on the UK economy.

“Our vision is to inspire and enable positive social change through the action of entrepreneuring, creating jobs and value in the economy.

Iain Moffatt, KPMG’s UK head of national markets, added: “As evidenced by its latest Impact Report, Entrepreneurial Spark’s track record of providing aspiring business owners with access to a unique resource of contacts, expertise, mentoring and support is second to none.

“Today’s start-ups are the industry leaders of tomorrow, so the more we can do to help them get on top of their finances, secure investment and develop entrepreneurial mindsets, the better. We look forward to supporting the first intake of entrepreneurs at Gogarburn and helping them on their growth journeys.”

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