Jim Duffy

Jim Duffy

CEO - Entrepreneurial Spark

Three reasons why entrepreneurial spark’s new Edinburgh hatchery will be home to the city’s tech superstars

Entrepreneurial Spark, the world’s largest free business accelerator for early stage and growing ventures, is preparing to welcome Edinburgh’s start-up scene to a brand new Hatchery based at RBS headquarters in Gogarburn.

Entrepreneurs applying for the February intake will join existing Edinburgh Chiclets in the former ‘executive wing’ at RBS, which is being transformed into a centre for entrepreneurs and innovation, named the Entrepreneurial Centre. The Hatchery will house up to 80 entrepreneurs, who will receive free office space, WiFi and printing, as well as access to mentors and ongoing business support.

The new Hatchery will be supporting small businesses from all sectors, but is tipped to become a hotbed of tech start-ups in particular, for three key reasons.

1 –   Edinburgh is already a tech hot-spot.

The city’s universities were early UK adopters of the spin-out system and have a culture of entrepreneurialism. Recent figures show a record number of start-ups coming out of the universities, with investment also at a high. Alongside this, tech superstars like Skyscanner and Fanduel have based their UK HQ in Edinburgh and are helping to inspire a new wave of entrepreneurs, as well as galvanising the public and third sector to provide the conditions for more high growth firms to develop.

All this has helped the Scottish capital become a tech hub, with space, expertise and investment opportunities all tailored to the tech sector, which is seen as highly desirable and investable because firms typically have high growth potential.

Entrepreneurial Spark chief executive Jim Duffy said:

“We have seen a great number of technology entrepreneurs come through the Edinburgh hatchery to date, so will seek to build upon this success as we strengthen our tech start-up offering in Edinburgh, whilst also supporting entrepreneurs from each and every other sector.”

2 – The new Hatchery will have extra networking and support facilities for tech firms.

The Entrepreneurial Centre will also house RBS’ technology solutions centre, giving entrepreneurs in the tech industry an opportunity to gain expert advice and world class mentoring from specialists with years of experience.

Entrepreneurs on board the Entrepreneurial Spark business accelerator programme in Edinburgh will also enjoy additional benefits from access to tech community giants including Amazon, Google, Microsoft and HP. Alongside this they will receive access to the global tech network facilitated by the bank, as well as research and tech market intel to help them identify upcoming trends in the tech sector.

Mr Duffy said:

“We obviously support all of our Chiclets with all the resources we can muster, but we are delighted to have negotiated access to firms like Amazon, Google, Microsoft and HP, which will be of particular benefit to technology businesses. Links to corporations like that can be very useful to ambitious start-ups seeking to win contracts, introductions and investment.”

3 – The Entrepreneurial Centre will give Edinburgh start-ups unprecedented levels of support and access to expertise.

Small businesses from all sectors, including tech, medical, food and drink and textiles, will be given the opportunity to collaborate and work with fellow entrepreneurs and RBS employees during their time on board the Entrepreneurial Spark programme.

Ross McEwan, Chief Executive of RBS, said:

“It is not just start-up businesses that need to be innovative and forward thinking to thrive and grow; RBS needs to be as well. That is why we are opening up our headquarters so that we can support Scottish businesses of tomorrow, not just with infrastructure, but through the chance to collaborate with experts and other like-minded business owners.”

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All of these benefits come on top of Entrepreneurial Spark’s own accelerator programme, which is constantly evolving as the organisation itself learns and innovates. Now the biggest free business accelerator for early stage and growing ventures in the world, with a rapidly expanding UK network of Hatcheries and an offshoot in India, Entrepreneurial Spark has developed a programme that starts with an intensive boot camp and can extend for up to 18 months.

It is also seeking to expand its support to a further group of more established businesses in order to encourage them to accelerate their growth. The Scalerator, an elite ten-week programme that aims to prepare entrepreneurs for the mindset of scaling up beyond the £1m turnover mark, will be launched in Autumn 2016.

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