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Change at top of incubator

Duffy steps aside as Walker takes reins at ESpark

Lucy-Rose WalkerJim duffyJim Duffy is handing over the reins at Scottish incubator Entrepreneurial Spark which has promoted co-founder Lucy-Rose Walker to the role of chief executive.

Mr Duffy has led the organisation since its launch in 2012 and expanded it into a network across Britain and overseas.

He will become head of its GoDo initiative, touring the country and working closely with the start-ups on the programme.

Ms Walker has been tasked with doubling the number of entrepreneurs on the accelerator and encouraging more women to start their own businesses.

The firms which have passed through the intensive workshop programmes have been backed by £45 million of investment. They have a collective turnover of £85m and have created 1,816 jobs. Just under 90% of businesses are still trading.

ESpark has signed partnering deals with RBS Group, KPMG, Harper MacLeod and technology specialist EMC.

Ms Walker has appointed Gayle Mann as head of enablement.

Speaking about her new position, Ms Walker said: “Jim created something revolutionary when he started Entrepreneurial Spark and I have been privileged to be a part of that for the last four and a half years.

“I look forward to building and refining the current model, while also developing new opportunities and focusing on the growth of the business.

“From starting out with one space in Glasgow in 2012, donated by Lord Willie Haughey, we’ve rapidly expanded Entrepreneurial Spark, with 13 Hatcheries opening across the UK by 2017 and Entrepreneurial Spark Powered by Viridian which launched in India last summer.

“I want to take this momentum and expand on it even further.”

Part of starting and running a business is knowing when it’s time to hand over the reins

Mr Duffy added: “Entrepreneurial Spark has long been a champion of female entrepreneurship, with females making up 60% of the team, and now is the time for our new female CEO to take over and practice what we preach.

“Part of starting and running a business is knowing when it’s time to hand over the reins to someone else who is best placed to develop your company and adapt to the changing times ahead.

“As a start-up guy I love starting things and getting them to a position that they can really grow, and I truly believe that Lucy-Rose is the ideal person to lead the team and take this forward. I’m excited to work even more closely with the enablement team in my new role as Head of GoDo and support the company as we grow over the next three to five years.”



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