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Entrepreneurial Spark hub by NatWest launches in Bristol

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Written by: Michael Yong | Posted 16 September 2015 12:42

Entrepreneurial Spark hub by NatWest launches in Bristol

The world’s largest free entrepreneurial accelerator opened its latest hub in Bristol yesterday.

Entrepreneurial Spark, powered by NatWest, open its hub at the bank’s building at Trinity Quay.

Eighty businesses beat stiff competition to secure a place in the first intake of entrepreneurs to take part in the programme, which is aimed at early stage and growing ventures.

They will be based at the Trinity Quay hub – known as the hatchery – for up to six months, with potential to continue for another 12 if they are among the most promising.

Access to the Bristol hatchery includes physical office space with superfast internet, a start-up Bootcamp, dedicated mentoring, regular events, workshops and training, all free of charge.

A new intake is taken in every six months.

The Bristol hub is part of a network being created across the UK by Entrepreneurial Spark in conjunction with NatWest and KPMG.

These will support 7,000 entrepreneurs over the next five years.

Alison Rose, chief executive officer of Commercial and Private Banking at NatWest, opened the hub yesterday morning.

She said: “The complexities of setting up a new company can be overwhelming - having to understand finance, becoming experts in employment law and trying to be part of a network.

“For many, running their own business can be a lonely, slow and isolating experience.

“But it doesn’t need to be like that. The hub provides business owners with the infrastructure, advice and support they need to give them that extra boost during the key early stages of building their business.”

Five of the entrepreneurs currently based at the hub took part in a pitching competition during the official launch, which was judged by Alison NatWest’s chief executive officer Ross McEwan, NatWest’s chief executive officer of Personal and Business

Banking Les Matheson, Bristol mayor George Ferguson and head of National Markets at KPMG, Iain Moffat.

Samantha Mant, managing director of Halcyan Water Conditioners, won the contest and was presented with a £1,000 prize.

She said: “Being chosen as one of the five entrepreneurs to pitch made me think pretty hard about what I needed to say to this audience, and it also made me think about the business itself.

“The support within the hatchery has been phenomenal – everyone has been practising pitches with each other.

“We will be putting our £1,000 prize money towards the rebrand of our business from Ecosoft to Halcyan.”

Jim Duffy, chief executive officer of Entrepreneurial Spark, said: “We’re delighted to have launched in Bristol and announced our plans for the next round of UK hatcheries, which includes Cardiff.

“There is real entrepreneurial talent coming forward across the UK, no more so than in Bristol and the South West where we’ve had a record level of applications to join the hatchery. 

“We look forward to being part of the start-up community, helping entrepreneurs to develop winning mindsets and behaviours in order to scale up their businesses.”

Mr Moffat, from KPMG, said the company could not wait to get started on the hub.

He added: “Starting up a business is all about getting the right support in place and having the confidence to see your plans through.

“With Entrepreneurial Spark, Bristol’s thriving entrepreneurial community has just the platform to nurture their ideas into reality.

“The energy created by the hub is infectious - our KPMG Enterprise team is extremely excited to be an official partner and can’t wait to get stuck in to mentoring some truly inspiring and incredible businesses.”

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